By: Kylan Watson
The Syracuse Women’s Basketball team were riding high after routing Pittsburgh. They had a prime-time match-up against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and they were not up to the challenge. They were routed by the Fighting Irish by a score of 98-68, and a large reason for this loss was because of turnovers and a high shooting percentage from the three-point line.
The largest lead the Orange had was a one-point lead late in the first quarter. The biggest problem for them in this game was turnovers. Notre Dame was able to go on a 16-0 run late in the second quarter because of the Orange’s mistakes. They turned the ball over 16 times. Those turnovers would prove to be the difference.
The Fighting Irish made them pay as they scored 20-points off of turnovers.
They also took advantage of Syracuse’s defensive lapses. Notre Dame did a good job of finding holes in the zone and taking full advantage by hitting wide-open threes. They made 43.8% of their three-pointers.
The player that benefited the most from this was guard Arike Ogunbowale who scored 18-points and grabbed four rebounds. She also had help from her teammates, forward Jessica Shepard who scored 15-points and grabbed 12-rebounds, and Brianna Turner who scored 22-points and grabbed six-rebounds.
Shepard in particular attacked the Orange defenders in the paint and was able to get a couple players in early foul trouble.
The Orange were able to cut Notre Dame’s lead to twenty after a late surge in the third quarter. The Orange were led by Junior guard Tiana Mangakahia who scored 11-points during this run by the Orange. Cutting the lead to twenty-points was the closest the Orange would get. Mangakahia scored 17-points and had seven-assists. However, every time they went on a run Notre Dame had an answer.
Mangakahia said, “Well, first-half I was in a little bit of foul trouble, so I couldn’t be as aggressive as I wanted to be. As well our offense in the first-half we were running a lot of zone, and in the second-half we ran more of the man offense. Which gave me the opportunity to go one on one, and I think that’s what really help my game in the second-half.”
The Orange could not make a basket when they needed to. They had a field goal percentage of 33.3% which was not good enough to beat the Fighting Irish.
Head Coach Quentin Hillsman said, “Obviously, I’m very disappointed in the outcome. This is a game where we had a very great opportunity to come on our home floor and beat a very great team. And we didn’t take advantage of the opportunity, and that’s very disappointing. … At the end of the day I have to find a way to get our players to play better in games like this at a high level.”
The Orange had a chance to make a statement and really lay a claim as an ACC powerhouse against the defending National champions, and they could not pass the test. Notre Dame thoroughly outplayed and outhustled the Orange.
They have a lot of work to do if they want to host a home playoff game when the NCAA Tournament starts next month, they will have another chance to beat a top-ranked opponent when they play Florida State on Thursday.