Similar to its recent win over #14 North Carolina, the Orange’s offense caught fire in the third quarter after struggling in the first half. Syracuse was down as much as 12 points heading into the game’s final 20 minutes, but the Orange outscored the Fighting Irish 30-16 to take a single-digit lead in the fourth quarter.
Unfortunately, that was all the Orange could muster in its upset bid. Syracuse struggled to keep pace with a talented opponent, eventually falling 73-64 to the Fighting Irish and handling the Orange its 19th-consecutive road loss against Notre Dame.
Almost exactly like its game against the Tar Heels, the Orange were powered by the trio of Dyaisha Fair, Dariauna Lewis, and Georgia Woolley. The Fair-Lewis-Woolley combo combined for 53 of Syracuse’s 64 points, including a collective 20/41 (49%) shooting from the field and 6/11 from three.
On the other hand, the rest of the Orange’s supporting cast struggled against a defensively-aggressive Notre Dame program. Teisha Hyman (4 points on 1/8 shooting in 12 minutes) couldn’t get fully going in her second game back from a lower-leg injury, while Kyra Wood played just seven minutes after struggling defensively in her limited playing time. Coach Felisha Legette-Jack relied heavily on bench reserves Saniaa Wilson and Kennedi Perkins with each seeing north of 21 minutes of action.
Both teams shot 50% in the first quarter as Notre Dame took an early 19-18 lead, with the Orange cutting its deficit after trailing as much as six points (17-11). The Fighting Irish focused early on trapping aggressively along the perimeter, forcing Fair and Woolley to move more off the ball, leading to Syracuse committing 12 total turnovers in the contest.
The Fighting Irish looked to be in complete control in the second quarter, outscoring the Orange 17-6 as Syracuse ended the quarter with 13-straight missed field goals and a two-and-a-half-minute scoring drought. A three-pointer by Fair gave the Orange a 22-21 lead with 7:25 left until the end of the half, but from there, Syracuse went the rest of the quarter without a field goal.
A dominant third gives us the lead. pic.twitter.com/D5rOhaS0sd— 'Cuse Hoops (@CuseWBB) February 12, 2023
Despite its offensive drought, Syracuse bounced back in stunning fashion. After shooting just 8/30 from the field in the first half, the Orange went 12/17 (71%) alone in the third quarter as the team outscored Notre Dame by 14 points to take a 54-52 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
From there, the Orange could only muster 10 more points the rest of the way, at one point going nearly seven minutes without a field goal. Notre Dame outscored Syracuse 21-10, spoiling the Orange’s chances at a second-straight victory over a ranked ACC opponent.
Even with the loss, Legette-Jack seemed pleased with her team’s performance:
“We showed resiliency in the second half, showed that we’ve got some gumption, that we belong in this conference,” said Legette-Jack. “When we get better, we’re going to be really good.”
Syracuse should still feel good about itself heading into this week. Even with the loss, the Orange still defeated an AP top-15 program while only falling to the best ACC program by NET ranking by single-digits on the road.
Next game on the agenda:
The Orange hope to bounce back when they hit the road to take the #19 Florida State Seminoles (20-7, 9-5) Thursday night.
Now it’s your turn: we can all agree the Notre Dame loss leaves somewhat of a sour taste coming off a win over a ranked opponent. What did you notice from today’s game? Leave your thoughts down below on how the Orange can return to form against Florida State.