In its second matchup against ranked opposition, the Orange (13-5, 4-3) battled hard for 30 minutes but ultimately ran out of gas against Notre Dame, with the Fighting Irish (14-2, 5-1) outscoring ‘Cuse 22-11 in the fourth quarter en route to a 16-point loss for Syracuse.
This was very similar to the Orange’s game against then-#6 NC State, where they battled hard for three quarters before a 16-5 fourth-quarter run by the Wolfpack put that game away.
TV highlights from today's game vs. #7 Notre Dame pic.twitter.com/f3dctwRqMQ— 'Cuse Hoops (@CuseWBB) January 15, 2023
It was a back-and-forth affair that saw both programs combine for six ties and nine different lead changes. Syracuse trailed 31-26 at halftime, then rallied back from an early seven-point deficit with a quick 8-0 run during the middle of the third quarter.
However, the Orange struggled to keep up with Notre Dame’s hyper-efficient offense which ranks as one of the best in the country. The Fighting Irish shot 17/30 in the second half as Notre Dame extended its lead to double-digits in the fourth quarter and never looked back. Overall, the Fighting Irish shot an efficient 7/18 (39%), compared to the Orange shooting under 36% from the field and just 4/21 (19%) from three.
While the Orange held its own throughout the game, the team struggled to keep pace with Notre Dame’s offensive attack. Syracuse generated just five fastbreak points in this game, being forced into difficult looks in the half-court.
Just two members of the Orange (Dyaisha Fair with 14 points and Asia Strong with 11 points) scored in double-digits, while the rest of the team struggled with putting the ball in the basket. Teisha Hyman finished with just 4 points on 2/11 shooting, while Georgia Woolley had 9 points but on 4/14 shooting from the field and 1/6 from downtown. Kyra Wood and Alaina Rice each chipped in eight points.
Defensively, Syracuse held its own on the rebounding front but did struggle to close out on Notre Dame’s perimeter players, most notably Olivia Miles who finished with 27 points on 11/15 shooting in addition to seven rebounds and seven assists.
The loss drops the Orange to 0-2 against ranked opponents, both of which have been at home. The defeat also hands Syracuse its biggest deficit in a loss (16 points) since November 21 (a 13-point road loss to Penn State).
Syracuse vs. Notre Dame by the numbers:
- Nobody on the Syracuse roster shot better than 28% from three (Fair: 2/7 from three).
- The 3,776 fans in attendance Sunday afternoon was the largest crowd for a Sunday game this season for the Orange.
- Just two players on the Orange finished with double-digit point totals.
- Syracuse’s 56 points were the second-fewest generated by the team this season. The fewest was 54 points against NC State earlier this season.
- The Orange fall to 3-3 in its last six games.
Biggest Takeaways of the Game:
The scoring buck stops here: Syracuse’s scorching hot offense which torched Clemson and Boston College completely cooled against an elite Notre Dame defense. In particular, Hyman and Woolley really struggled to get their usual shots up, while Fair was solid but inefficient. The guard trio combined for just 27 points on 12/41 shooting from the field (29%) and 3/16 (19%) from three with two total free throw attempts.
In a tug-of-war over two dynamic offenses, Notre Dame’s efficiency and Syracuse’s lack of it proved to be the ultimate deciding factor.
I’m sensing a pattern: It’s hard to ignore, but there is a constant trend with the Orange looking great for most of a game, but struggling to close things out in the second half. Syracuse blew double-digit leads to Penn State and NC State then failed to close out Sunday against Notre Dame.
To be fair, all of those aforementioned opponents rank higher compared to ‘Cuse using the NCAA’s NET ranking. At the same time, Syracuse’s offense does tend to get bogged down in the fourth quarter. Relying more on the bench earlier in the game to give more rest for the starters could be an option. Staying aggressive offensively instead of chewing up the clock could also be another route.
Seeing the forest for the trees: While Syracuse remains 0-2 against ranked opponents, the Orange still ranks comfortably in the top 65 in the NCAA’s NET ranking. Compared to last season (a consistent benchmark to contextualize this season), the Orange fared much better this time around against Notre Dame.
Moving forward, Syracuse will have a chance to redeem itself against Georgia Tech before facing the ACC’s best of the best in its upcoming slate. There are still plenty of opportunities for the Orange to build up its resume.
Next game on the agenda:
Coming up next for ‘Cuse is a road trip to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (9-9, 0-7). Last season, Georgia Tech finished 21-11 overall and 11-7 against the ACC en route to an NCAA Tournament berth.