Date & Time: Saturday, March 9 at noon ET
Location: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, N.C.
Radio: ESPN Syracuse 97.7 FM
Notre Dame Blog: One Foot Down
Series Record: Notre Dame leads 33-2
Last meeting: Notre Dame 98, Syracuse 68
Notre Dame controlled by the last three quarters after Syracuse only trailed 24-19 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Irish outscored SU 22-8 in the second quarter and took a 19 point lead into halftime. The lead would continue to grow in the second half.
Ogunbowale led Notre Dame with 24 points, 16 coming in the second half and made her presence felt on the defensive end as well, picking the passing lanes and coming up with four steals.
Tiana Mangakahia was held scoreless (0-for-1) in the first half and was in foul trouble early with two quick fouls. Still, she finished with a team-high 17 points, all coming in the second half. The early foul trouble limited her opportunities to attack and not having her on the court affected the Syracuse offense.
Head Coaches: SU: Quentin Hillsman (13th year, 287-143); ND: Muffet McGraw (32nd year, 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: Notre Dame defeated North Carolina 95-77 in the first game of the tournament for the Irish after a double-bye in the first two rounds.
Ogunbowale led the way with, scoring a game-high 28 points, including five three-point shots.
Brianna Turner had her eighth double-double of the season, with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Jackie Young flirted with a triple-double. She finished with 19 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds. Jessica Shepard was the other player in double-digits for the Irish with 14 points.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Ogunbowale is averaging 21.6 per game. She is a pure scorer and is great in the clutch. She is the all-time leading score in program history.
If Syracuse wins: The Orange would be a lock for at least a 4-seed in the NCAA Tournament. And it would also give them an opportunity to possibly move up to the 3-line, especially if SU wins the ACC championship. A win would give also Syracuse a five-game winning-streak headed into the ACC championship game.
If Syracuse Loses: The team will still be in good standing for a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament, which means the Orange would host the first weekend in the Carrier Dome in front of its home fans. The win over Miami was big for SU’s chances to secure one of those 4-seeds and a good performance versus Notre Dame could increase those chances for Syracuse.