Last week, the first game of the Syracuse Orange women’s basketball season showed us a best possible result for a team facing a lot of uncertainty. Unfortunately, game two was a completely different story as Syracuse lost to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 82-56 on Sunday.
The final score tells you it was a pretty one-sided game, but the Orange were very much in this one for the first three quarters. Notre Dame jumped out to a 17-10 lead in the first, but SU battled back in the second narrowing things to 34-28 at the break. A tight third quarter closed at 57-49 in favor of the Irish. But Notre Dame ran away with it from there, outscoring Syracuse 25-7 in the fourth.
As we hinted at in the game preview, Maddy Westbeld had a chance to be a problem against an undersized Orange squad, and indeed she was. Westbeld led UND with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting in just 22 minutes.
On the Syracuse side, we obviously didn’t see the same depth on display we did vs. Monmouth, as only eight players saw the floor. Maryland transfer Alaysia Styles led the team with 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting, while also collecting six boards. Baylor/Texas Tech transfer Chrislyn Carr had 11 points (on 4-of-14 from the field) and also dished four assists. Teisha Hyman had 10, plus five assists.
The biggest issue in this game should be pretty apparent: Poor shooting. Syracuse hit just 28.6% of their shots on the day, versus Notre Dame’s 50% shooting performance. That alone makes it tough to stay competitive with any opponent — let alone another ACC foe.
While the Irish still had an advantage on the boards, 45-38, the Orange did show some ability to fight for rebounds. Though Syracuse turned the ball over 20 times, Notre Dame wound up with 19, so there are positive things happening on defense (they did have eight steals).
As the team runs an offense greatly resembling the previous regime’s, one thing to watch will be how much the Orange emphasize outside shooting The team was 8-of-32 from three in this one, including 1-of-8 from deep in the fourth. Part of that inaccuracy comes from just trying to shoot their way back into the game late, of course. But overall, we could and perhaps should see the offense move inside to help mitigate shooting issues against better opponents.
Syracuse is now 1-1 on the year, and will be back in action on Wednesday, with a home game vs. the Morgan State Bears. It’ll be the final tune-up before the Orange head down to the Bahamas and the Battle 4 Atlantis. The women’s event starts this coming Saturday.