Syracuse Women's Basketball: SU vs. Notre Dame

No. 21 Syracuse women's basketball falls to No. 7 Notre Dame in closely fought game

Despite record attendance of 11,021, Fighting Irish tops SU at the Carrier Dome, 85-80.

Orange Syracuse t-shirts and banners filled the Carrier Dome and the arena rumbled in an infectious energy of excitement that was clearly caught by the No. 21 SU women’s basketball team Sunday night.

An all-time record attendance of 11,021 showed up and was a catalyst of energy that kept the Orange battling throughout the contest. But after leading through three quarters, SU (18-9, 9-5 ACC) fell to No. 7 Notre Dame, 85-80.

Photo: Brianna Moné
Isabella Slim looks to pass in Syracuse's game against Notre Dame on Sunday.

The Orange came out to a roaring start from behind the 3-point line. Brittney Sykes knocked down two field goals in the game’s opening two minutes and Gabby Cooper followed with a third, giving SU the momentum and an early 11-2 lead.

From there, Alexis Peterson and Sykes attacked the paint and either dished to their teammates—like Briana Day—in the paint for easy lay-ups, kicked to the wings for 3-point looks, or scored themselves. Behind this up-tempo offense, the Orange led 30-24 at the end of the quarter.

The Orange hit a lull to open the second, hitting just two field goals over four minutes, and Notre Dame (25-3, 13-1 ACC) cut its deficit to just two, 34-32. But, Sykes responded immediately with aggressive takes to the basket, which resulted in six straight points.

Syracuse went into halftime with an eight-point advantage, 43-35, and ended the third quarter ahead by four.

But, Syracuse had no answer for Notre Dame’s force in the middle, forward Brianna Turner. The junior scored a career-high 31 points, burrowing herself in the center of the paint for easy lay-ups, offensive rebounds and put backs. 

“A post player that’s getting deep post position, it’s tough to guard that,” Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “We just have to do a better job getting in front on that action and playing off the high-post and doing what we’re supposed to do, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort.”

This turned out to be a game of momentum. Every possession was a crucial one and each team never strayed too far behind.

Notre Dame didn’t take the lead until the fourth quarter, where it led by as many as nine points with just over three minutes remaining. UND had an 81-76 advantage with 36 seconds left, but four free throws by Peterson in a 15 second stretch cut the deficit to just one point.

After a foul by Sykes and two made free throws by Norte Dame’s Marina Mabrey, the Orange was down three and had a chance to tie with 10 seconds left.

Peterson came off a double-screen and got an open look at a 3-pointer, but the ball rimmed in and out, and Notre Dame held on for the win.

Although it wasn’t the result SU wanted, Sykes was appreciative of the fans' support and said the team will take the lessons learned from this game and apply them moving forward.

“What we can take away from this is that we know we are one of those great teams in the ACC,” Sykes said. “There’s been a couple of games and we probably shouldn’t have lost them, and this is one of them. But, there’s a lesson in every loss.”

Syracuse will return to action against Wake Forest on Thursday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Carrier Dome. 

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