Notre Dame End’s Syracuse’s Win Streak Despite Near Comeback

Sunday, Feb 23, 2020 at 11:43 pm by Sports Editor

Chris Sacchi

Syracuse Women’s Basketball Beat Reporter

SOUTH BEND, IN – In the two games that Notre Dame (11-17, 6-10 ACC) and Syracuse (15-12, 9-7 ACC) played this season, the script played out strikingly similar.

On January 5th, the Orange hosted the Irish and needed a strong fourth quarter to win after trailing by eight points at the end of the third.
This afternoon, inside Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, the Orange were once again looking for a resurgent final period to win. The deficit after three quarters? Eight points.

And, until the final buzzer, SU had a chance to write another storybook ending similar to the overtime victory inside the Dome.
Down 72-70 with just over ten seconds to play, Syracuse had the ball with the opportunity to send the game to overtime or even win with a three-pointer.

Unlike the first game, the Orange came up just short in its comeback bid. Kiara Lewis’s three-pointer missed off the front of the rim, Gabrielle Cooper’s putback attempt could not fall, and SU will have to wait until next year to try and win at Notre Dame for the first time in program history.

Syracuse trailed 27-11 after the first quarter, making a comeback effort all the more difficult. The offense shot only three of 17 in that first period, including one of 11 from beyond the arc, which comes out to an unsightly efficiency of 18 and nine percent, respectively.

After that first period, the offensive unit woke up to shoot 47% through the end of the game. Kiara Lewis paced both squads with 24 points and achieved the milestone of 1,000 for her career.

Gabrielle Cooper (17 points) heated up late in the third for a personal 5-0 run that capped off a sweet-shooting quarter for the Orange (62%).

Cooper also put up a second straight double-double, adding 11 rebounds after 10 the previous game against Clemson.

“I’m just really happy for her,” Coach Hillsman said after the Clemson game. “She’s really been hanging in there during some tough times where she hasn’t shot the ball well earlier in the season, but she’s been doing other things to help us win.”

Syracuse outscored Notre Dame 16-10 in the fourth, but it wasn’t enough to surmount that eight-point deficit. Instead of six straight wins, the Orange will look to start a new streak during the last two games of the regular season and into the ACC tournament.

The next game on the docket is a matchup at No. 10 North Carolina State this Thursday at 8:00. Follow along @CitrusTVSports to see if Hillsman’s team can add another much needed big win on the NCAA tournament resume. | @SachChristopher