Syracuse Defeats Notre Dame, 74-63, for the First time Since 2002

Monday, Jan 06, 2020 at 5:12 pm by Sports Editor

By Christopher Sacchi

CitrusTV Women’s Basketball Beat Reporter

The drought is over.

After a 74-63 overtime victory over Notre Dame (6-9, 1-2 ACC) at the Dome, Coach Quentin Hillsman and company (8-6, 2-1 ACC) defeated the Fighting Irish for the first time since 2002. The victory was well earned for Hillsman, who entered the match 0-16 against the program.

“Everytime I play them. 1000%,” Hillsman said when asked postgame if his record against Notre Dame entered his mind before the game.

Kiara Lewis led the way for the Orange with a team-high 28 points, highlighted by a three pointer with just 6.9 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game at 60 and force overtime.

“The time was winding down, I knew I had to do something, she [the defender] gave me a little space, so I shot, prayed that it went in, and it did,” Lewis said after the game with a smile.

Lewis also got to the free throw line 18 times, converting on 13 shots, and put together a three-for-eight night from beyond the arc. Coach Q also praised his point guard for controlling the offense and turning the ball over only three times in close to 43 minutes played.

Emily Engstler enjoyed a big night herself for the Orange, putting up 22 points and 16 rebounds on 10 for 18 shooting. Also key was Digna Strautmane with 9 points and 9 rebounds, whilst adding a block on Notre Dame’s last second shot attempt in regulation to ensure an overtime period.

That overtime period was all Syracuse. SU stormed out to an 11-0 run and did not look back; Notre Dame had more turnovers (three) than made shots (one) after regulation.

Hillsman and his players gave special consideration to the home crowd after the game, citing that as a key factor in the energy Syracuse needed after an emotional 90-89 overtime victory over No. 8 Florida State just three days prior.

“When we came out for the second half, the fans hyped us up. The atmosphere was really really good. The fans helped us feel really good while we were out on the court,” said Struatmane.

The Orange needed any type of boost from the crowd of 4,306 after the first half 31-31 tie. SU shot only 23% in the opening two quarters, with only four players finding the bottom of the net. The team also appeared a bit sluggish out of the gate, settling for jump shots and allowing more windows on defense.

Notre Dame was lead by Destinee Walker and her 25 points on 8-17 shooting. The Fighting Irish kept up with the Orange for most of the game, but seemed to run out of gas once overtime began.

Notre Dame had a chance to put the game away with 30 seconds to play and Anaya Peoples at the line with a 60-57 lead. Just one free throw would make it a two possession game, but Peoples missed both shots in front of a super charged, loud home crowd, and that lead to the huge shot by Lewis to tie the game.

After two straight OT wins at home, the Orange will travel down to Florida to face No. 23 Miami at 12:00 noon. Coverage as always will be featured on @CitrusTVSports on Twitter throughout the game. l @SachChristopher