The No. 17 Syracuse Orange defeated the No. 7 Louisville Cardinals 80-75 to advance to its first ACC title game on Saturday. The Orange played a clutch game to avenge its most recent loss of the season and is now on an 11-game winning streak. They will face the almighty No. 2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the ACC Championship game. This is Syracuse's first trip to a conference championship game since 1988, which ended in an overtime loss to St. John's.
Alexis Peterson and Cornelia Fondren led Syracuse in scoring with 19 and 18 points respectively. Brianna Butler and Taylor Ford helped out with two 3-pointers each. It was great seeing Taylor Ford on the floor after rolling her ankle yesterday and being helped off the court. Her playing status today was uncertain but she suited up and gave the Orange some valuable minutes off the bench.
Foul trouble was a big problem for Syracuse against Louisville, as it was against NC State on Friday. Brianna Butler and Alexis Peterson both found themselves with three fouls in the middle of the third quarter. Briana Day fouled out with three inutes left in the game. Brittney Sykes, Butler and Peterson all ended with four fouls. Cuse will have to do a better job staying out of foul trouble to compete with the Irish.
Earlier this year, No. 2 Notre Dame defeated Syracuse 90-62 at South Bend so the Orange will need to be rolling on all cylinders to win the ACC title game. SU will have to be extremely active and aggressive in the full court press and force many turnovers (like the 16 they forced Saturday) to keep up with Notre Dame's powerful offense.
The game is scheduled for Sunday, March 6th at the Greensboro Coliseum. Tip-off is at 12:30 pm and the game will be broadcasted on ESPN.