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Fourth quarter woes lead to Syracuse downfall against No. 7 Notre Dame, 72-56

Dyaisha Fair (white #2) embraces teammate, Asia Strong (white #15) late in the game.
Dyaisha Fair embraces teammate, Asia Strong late in the game.

Syracuse women's basketball hung tough but came up short against No. 7 Notre Dame. Luke Schwartz details just the second home loss of the season for the Orange.

For the first 30 minutes, Syracuse women's basketball was flying high and soaring throughout the dome, but when the minutes mattered the most, the team transformed into Kent Clark and looked helpless.

After forcing big turnovers and playing tough defense to stay tightly within the game, trailing 50-45 going into the fourth, the Fighting Irish put their foot on the gas in the end and could not be stopped.

Notre Dame put up 22 points to Syracuse’s 11, where the Irish hit three three-point shots and were 50% from downtown. Plus, shooting 60% in the last quarter was a crucial bonus.

Syracuse on the other hand, struggled badly. 5-15 from the field and 0-5 from three in the fourth quarter. Shots were not falling and the defense slipped as time went on.

Take those final minutes away, and this is an even matchup from the stats. Syracuse and Notre Dame tied in two-quarters of play. Both teams scored 16 in the first quarter, and both scored 19 in the third quarter.

The Orange forced 11 turnovers, snagged seven steals, and lit up the box score with seven total blocks. The unfortunate part was that this team had to go up against Olivia Miles.

The sophomore All-American was too much to handle. She looked nearly flawless in this contest. 23 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists. She flew up the court in the snap of a finger, hit fadeaway jump shots like she was a pro, and finished through contact in the lane. It is no surprise why her name garners so much respect.

Dara Mabrey also added to the fourth-quarter onslaught when the graduate student started the game 1-7 from three and then hit two straight in the fourth quarter to reach 15 points in the match. As a whole, Notre Dame finished the game shooting 48 percent from the field, 39% from three, and 60 percent from the free-throw line.

Syracuse fans cheer loud for the Oranges largest Sunday attendance with 3,736 fans.
Syracuse fans cheer loud for the Oranges largest Sunday attendance with 3,736 fans.

Syracuse did not look like itself on offense. Only two players reached double digits in scoring. Dyaisha Fair had a team-high 14 points, and Asia Strong provided good minutes off the bench with 11 points. This marks Fair’s 18th straight game, scoring in double digits. It may have been an off-game for her, but a streak like that is mightily impressive.

The Orange shot 36 percent from the field, 19 percent from three, and 44 percent at the free-throw line.

This loss snaps Syracuse’s three-game winning streak and drops the Orange to 13-5 overall, 4-3 in ACC play.

Head coach Felisha Legette-Jack talked post game about her game plan on stopping Olivia Miles. “We do not try and stop a player, we try and stop a team.” Legette-Jack said.

Legette-Jack also mentioned how she is looking forward to continuing to get better before the start of February and fixing some mistakes her team needs to address in the future.

Before the interviews concluded, Legette-Jack was asked about her comment on seeing more Orange in the stands. “It is really great and easy to join a team when they are doing good, But to join in from the roots, that is how you build something special. If you join us now, you’ll be really proud of us and yourself.” Legette-Jack Said.

Syracuse women’s basketball returns to action on Thursday, January 19th, when the Orange travel to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.