The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team (10-1) returns to the court Sunday afternoon after a 10-day hiatus to face off against the #13 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-1) — the program’s second matchup versus a ranked opponent and first game against an ACC team this season.
The Orange recently finished up their non-conference slate with a 10-1 record and enter their New Year’s Eve clash with the Fighting Irish after last defeating Saint Francis (PA) 85-43 at home. Syracuse will look to earn its first win of the season over an AP top-25 opponent after coming up just short earlier this season on the road versus Maryland.
Notre Dame and Syracuse each currently sit with the second- and third-longest active win streaks in the ACC entering this weekend’s game. The Fighting Irish have won nine games in a row, including three-straight blowout victories over Lafayette, Purdue and Western Michigan.
Last season, Notre Dame finished 27-6 overall (15-3 in the ACC) and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in the 2023 NCAA Tournament.
Tip-off between the Orange and Fighting Irish is at 2 p.m. EST in the JMA Wireless Dome. The game will also be available for stream on the ACC Network.
Here’s what to watch for:
No Miles, no problem
Notre Dame continues to produce at a high level even without its star player in Olivia Miles, who tore her ACL near the end of last season. Miles, who ended last year on the All-American second team and All-ACC first team, brings a lot to the table and torched the Orange’s defense in both games last season.
Miles will not suit up in this game, but as you can see, Notre Dame is still as elite as ever. In particular, Hannah Hidalgo (23.8 points per game) continues to light up the scoreboard with her impressive shooting. The Fighting Irish currently have the ninth-best scoring offense in the entire NCAAW.
Syracuse (26th in scoring offense) will always continue to churn out good offense for the most part, but the defense will ultimately determine if the Orange can come away with a win.
Energy until the end
Syracuse’s fourth quarter struggles last season were part of the reason why the team failed to take care of business against the ACC’s best, and that proved to be the case in the Orange’s two games versus ND in 2022-2023. The Fighting Irish outscored the Orange by 22 points combined in what turned out to both be losses for Syracuse.
Syracuse has done much better on that front this time around in holding off teams like Alabama, Iowa State and Cornell. The Orange will need that same trend to continue versus the Fighting Irish.
Stay disciplined on both ends
Notre Dame’s offense primarily comes from two avenues — getting out in transition and ball movement to kick out to open perimeter shooters. The Fighting Irish currently force opponents to turn the ball over nearly 22 times per game (second in the ACC) and have the most assists per game (19.3) in the conference. ND is a smart team that will move the ball around and take advantage if its opponent doesn’t.
Again, Syracuse’s offense can compete with Notre Dame’s, but only if they don’t cough up easy looks in the process.
Syracuse versus #13 Notre Dame preview by the numbers
All-time: Syracuse is 3-38 all-time versus Notre Dame dating back to the 1987-1988 season, but all of the program’s wins versus the Fighting Irish have been at home.
Last matchup: Syracuse came up just short of an upset last year, falling to Notre Dame 73-64 on the road in February. The Orange last defeated Notre Dame during the 2020-2021 season at home.
Win/loss implications: A victory gives Syracuse its best resume-building win of the season to kick off the ACC slate, while a loss puts a damper on the Orange’s current hot streak.
Prediction: The history isn’t on the Orange’s side, but this will certainly be a high-scoring game. My gut feeling tells me Syracuse will fall just short 79-72 at home.
Syracuse vs. #13 Notre Dame Team Stats
|Margin of Victory