Syracuse believes its 2-3 zone defense can be just as effective against Kentucky even without its best player.

The sixth-seeded Orange (23-9) enter Monday night's second-round NCAA tournament game against the third-seeded Wildcats (25-8) minus star guard Brittney Sykes, who is out after injuring her right knee in the second half of Saturday's 59-53 victory over Chattanooga.

Sykes' absence leaves huge scoring and rebounding voids to fill for Syracuse, which shot just 32 percent in its opener. The Orange also need improvement in other areas against the Wildcats, who aim to follow up their record-setting 106-60 victory over Wright State by beating the zone.

Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman said that while Sykes' loss is significant, his roster is deep enough to offset it and execute the defense.