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Syracuse women’s basketball fades late in 83-62 loss at Notre Dame

The losing streak is up to six games

NCAA Womens Basketball: Syracuse at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team continued its slide with an 83-62 loss to the No. 20 Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Thursday night in South Bend.

Once again, the scoreboard failed to tell the entire story. The Orange trailed 62-56 with 5:42 left before the Irish blitzed them at the end. Syracuse’s fuel tank was empty before it reached its final destination. Three Orange starters played the entire 40 minutes.

Amid a six-game losing streak, the Orange continue to show fight and grit but are sorely lacking in the talent and depth categories. Five of Syracuse’s last six defeats have come at the hands of ranked opponents. The Orange might be able to hang with these teams for a half or three quarters but ultimately can’t overcome superior size and depth.

Syracuse kept it close for 20 minutes at the Carrier Dome during the first meeting of the season before the Irish pulled away in the second half for an 82-56 decision. On Thursday, the Orange kept it closer for longer, with things getting ugly at the end.

Notre Dame killed the Orange on the boards, doubling up its visitors 58-29 on the glass. The Irish turned 20 offensive rebounds into 17 second-chance points.

Olivia Miles starred for the Irish, nearly messing around and finishing with a triple-double. She posted 17 points, 10 rebounds, and a tantalizing nine assists. Sam Brunelle came off the bench to add 15.

Notre Dame’s four other starters also scored in double-digits. Maya Dodson and Sonia Citron were the next leading scorers with 13 apiece. Citron made it a double-double with 12 rebounds.

The Irish only played seven, but it got 18 points from its bench. The Orange did not get anything out of Alaina Rice, the only reserve to see action. Four Orange starters finished in double-digits, with Teisha Hyman putting up a game-high 22 points. Chrislyn Carr had 13 and Alaysia Styles and Naje Murray both had 11. Christianna Carr continued to struggle, going 2-for-9 with just five points on the night.

As a team, the Orange shot 37 percent and just 3-for-20 from three. It was almost impressive that Syracuse was able to stay in the game for that long shooting just 15 percent from deep. The Irish made 9-of-22 from beyond the arc.

Whether it be Syracuse’s lack of physicality or a generous home whistle, Notre Dame outshot the Orange 13-2 from the foul line. Combined with the rebounding advantage, it helped to nullify 23 Irish turnovers, compared to 11 from the Orange.

Syracuse led for a decent chunk of the first half, going up 23-19 in the early second quarter after a Hyman layup. The Irish retook the lead with a Brunelle triple at the 5:49 mark of the first half and never gave it up.

Threes from Abby Prohaska and Dara Mabrey put Notre Dame up 39-31 at the half. It seemed like danger time for Syracuse.

To their credit, the Orange scraped back to make it 45-42 after Hyman converted a layup on the fast break. It was another Hyman score that made it 53-48 in favor of the home team going into the final period.

The Irish may have been like a cat toying with its prey before going in for the kill. Syracuse remained two or three possessions behind until the final five minutes. A three-point play from Miles made it 67-56 with 4:40 left and Brunelle made it 79-60 with two consecutive scores.

Notre Dame closed on a 21-6 run as the Orange faltered in the final few minutes. Syracuse falls to 8-10 on the season and will look to snap its losing streak at home against Pittsburgh on Sunday at noon.