Syracuse’s 5-game winning streak ends with 72-70 loss to Notre Dame

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 23, 2020 at 2:46 pm Contact David: [email protected] Down two with the shot clock off, Kiara Lewis caught the inbound pass and dribbled around the top of the key. Syracuse had clawed back from down 18 and had the chance to win or send the game to overtime with the last shot of the game. A loss would be detrimental to its NCAA tournament hopes.With five seconds left, Lewis launched a contested 3 from the top of the arc that fell short but into the hands of Gabrielle Cooper. Cooper’s momentum carried her under the basket, where she flipped the ball up and off the backboard. What looked like a routine reverse layup bounced off the right side of the rim and outside the cylinder, crushing SU’s quest for a season-saving comeback win.Syracuse (15-12, 9-7 Atlantic Coast) may have solidified its postseason fate in its 72-70 loss to Notre Dame (11-17, 6-10) on Sunday afternoon at Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, Indiana. ESPN’s Charlie Creme said prior to the contest that the Orange needed to win all three of their remaining regular-season games to receive an at-large bid, then tweeted about SU’s now-slim chances after the loss.“These are tough because we know how critical these games are down the stretch,” head coach Quentin Hillsman told Brian Higgins after the game. “We needed this one, we didn’t really get it done.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textRoshan Fernandez | Asst. Digital EditorIf there was one contributing factor to Syracuse’s downfall on Sunday, it was its first-quarter performance. Syracuse’s first seven shots of Sunday’s game came from behind the arc, with just one falling. The Orange didn’t attempt a two-point shot until the 4:52 mark of the first quarter. By then, the deficit was already 13. Notre Dame turned six SU turnovers into nine points in what ended as the Orange’s worst first quarter of the season — 3-for-17 shooting and a 16-point deficit.Many of the Fighting Irish’s first-quarter points came from lapses in SU’s full- and half-court defense. Sam Brunelle found pockets of space in and around the 2-3 zone and sunk two 3s. Point guard Destinee Walker made all four of her shots, two of which were open layups. Notre Dame regularly beat Syracuse down the floor for easy buckets in transition and shot 59% (10-for-17) in the opening quarter.The Orange depended on the deep shot just as much in the second quarter. SU shot another 12 3s in the period, including five each from Digna Strautmane and Cooper. Strautmane was the focal point of the visitors’ offense, at one point attempting SU’s only shot on four-straight possessions. But two Syracuse buckets in the final minute — including a fast-break layup from Emily Engstler at the halftime buzzer — cut the deficit to 11.“It’s not like we got down and never got back into the game,” Hillsman said.A combined 15 points from Lewis and Cooper in the third quarter inched the Orange even closer to completing the comeback, but a failure to capitalize on Notre Dame’s mistakes was the preventing factor. The Fighting Irish didn’t score for nearly the first four minutes of the final period, a stretch in which SU scored just four points. SU turned four ND turnovers in the quarter into two points.Lewis and Cooper again spearheaded Syracuse’s offense, recording four of SU’s five made field goals in the fourth. But Notre Dame’s Mikayla Vaughn’s two free throws with 1:02 remaining were enough to fend off the Orange, even if it was by a margin of just inches on the last shot.Syracuse will next face No. 10 North Carolina State next Thursday night at 8 p.m. Commentslast_img

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