Date & Time: Monday, Feb 25 at 6 p.m. ET
Location: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
Notre Dame Blog: One Foot Down
Series Record: Notre Dame leads 32-2
The Syracuse Athletic Department is pulling out all the stops to try and break the WBB attendance record tonight. There will be special music, free t-shirts to the first 1,000 fans, a halftime show and in addition to free tickets, students will have a chance at taking home some prizes.
The previous WBB attendance record is 11,021 set back in 2017 against Notre Dame. We’ll see if two Carrier Dome attendance records will fall in a span of three days.
Last Meeting: Syracuse 72 Notre Dame 87
The last time these two teams met was December 28, 2017 in South Bend, Indiana. The Orange kept the game close throughout, but the Irish were able able to pull away in the fourth quarter to defeat Syracuse 87-72.
Syracuse came into the game 12-1, with its only loss coming to top-5 ranked Mississippi State. Notre Dame entered the matchup 11-1 and the only blemish on its record was a 80-71 loss to UConn.
With three minutes left in the first quarter, Miranda Drummond tied the game at 15, off a pass from Tiana Mangakahia. At the end of the first quarter, Syracuse trailed 20-15.
The Orange outscored Notre Dame 23-22 in what was a back-and-forth second quarter and only trailed 42-38 heading into halftime.
The third quarter was much like the second quarter, as each team was trading baskets. Syracuse took its first lead of the game with 5:04 left in the third quarter, on a layup by Drummond. The teams traded the lead throughout the quarter, before the Irish went on an 11-0 run and took a 64-58 in the fourth and final quarter.
In the fourth, Notre Dame maintained a double-digit lead that would be too much for Syracuse to overcome.
Jessica Shepard scored a team-high 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and Jackie Young was second on the team with 23 points for the Irish.
Mangakahia scored a game-high 26 points and flirted with a triple double, as she added eight assists and nine rebounds to go with her 26 points.
Head Coaches: SU: Quentin Hillsman (13th year, 283-142); ND: Muffet McGraw (37th season overall, 913-274. 32nd season at ND, 825-233)
Coach’s Bio: McGraw is a two-time National Championship winning coach, with her most recent coming last season, when Arike Ogunbowale’s buzzer-beating three-pointer gave the Irish a 61-58 win over Mississippi State in the National Championship game. She is one of six coaches to win multiple National Championships in Division I women’s basketball.
She has eight Final Four Appearances (which ranks third behind Pat Summitt and Geno Auriemma) and six trips to the National Championship game. McGraw ranks third all-time, with 62 wins in the NCAA tournament.
She is a three-time Consensus National Coach of the Year (2001, 2013, 2014). McGraw was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2017, the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014, and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011.
In the last 18 years, McGraw has had 17 players go on to the WNBA, including 14 WNBA draft picks. Those players have gone on to have success in the WNBA as they combine for six WNBA titles.
Last Season: The Irish were the last team standing as they finished the season with last second shots by Arike Ogunbowale in each game of the Final Four to help Notre Dame claim the National Championship.
Ogunbowale hit a long jumper over UConn’s Kia Nurse to give Notre Dame a 91-89 overtime victory over the Huskies. Then she struck again, two days later in the National Championship, hitting a three-pointer at the buzzer to beat Mississippi State and win the title.
Last Game: In their last game, Notre Dame beat Duke 89-61. Ogunbowale scored 25 points and passed Skylar Diggins for number on the all-time scoring list at Notre Dame.
Ogunbowale was one of three players to score 20 or more points for the Irish. The other two posted 20-and-10 performances. Jessica Shepard scored 24 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and Brianna Turner had 21 points to go along with 15 boards.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Ogunbowale averages 21.2 points per game and is serious a candidate for both ACC and NCAA Player of the Year. She is a threat to score from anywhere on the court and she has the ability to grab a rebound (she is fourth on the team, averaging five rebounds per game) and take it coast-to-coast.
If Syracuse wins: The team will finish the season 11-2 at home and will improve to 10-4 in ACC play.
A win would also be win number 21 on the season, one shy of tying last season’s total of 22.
Beating a top-five ranked team would be a huge boost for SU’s resume and would give them an opportunity to finish as one of the top-16 team’s headed into the NCAA tournament. The top four seeds in each region, host the first and second round of the NCAA tournament on their home floor.
If Syracuse Loses: A loss would move Syracuse out of a tie for fifth place in the ACC with Florida State. This is important for SU because the Seminoles are the next team on the schedule, following the matchup against Notre Dame.