No. 2 Notre Dame throttles Syracuse after jumping out to early lead

first_imgQuentin Hillsman wanted his team to set up its press after scoring.Unfortunately for Syracuse, it rarely got the opportunity to do so. No. 2 Notre Dame scored 14 points before the first media timeout.The Fighting Irish (23-0, 10-0 Atlantic Coast) hit seven of its first nine 3s, racing out to a 45-12 lead less than 14 minutes into the game. SU’s zone allowed UND to get open jumper after open jumper, and it left SU (17-7, 6-5) flat-footed with each swish. Notre Dame rode the hot start throughout the game in a 101-64 win over the Orange at Purcell Pavilion in front of 9,149 fans. “We wanted to get some buckets to get our defense set,” Hillsman said. “I thought if we could get back in the half court and get our defense set, we had a chance to guard them.” But SU couldn’t get into any kind of scoring rhythm, and as a result, the Fighting Irish picked apart the SU defense. Kayla McBride swished a 3 with 18:17 left in the first half to give Notre Dame an 8-2 lead. Jewell Loyd hit a jumper in transition 19 seconds later. Then Natalie Achonwa picked up the ball after it bounced off Rachel Coffey’s foot and drove it in for a layup to extend the lead to 10. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIn the span of 49 seconds, Notre Dame had all but shredded any hope of Syracuse pulling off a monumental upset. “We played unsettled in the first half,” Hillsman said. “We didn’t make our shots.”Loyd had 10 points in the first four minutes and finished with a game-high 23 points. She started out 4-of-4 from the field and finished 9-of-11. While all of Notre Dame’s shots were falling, SU couldn’t find the bottom of the net. Brianna Butler had just three points, and Brittney Sykes was just 5-of-17 from the field, coming off a career-high 31 points against Virginia Tech on Thursday. “They have to get their average for us,” Hillsman said. “Obviously when you’re struggling with scoring, and your two best players are struggling to score the basketball, we’ll struggle as a team.”The closest Syracuse would get in the second half was 28, and Notre Dame would lead by as many as 40. While the Orange has grown used to pressing as a means of starting a run, all the missed shots made that impossible. And when SU did press, Notre Dame found a way to break it. But Hillsman said the game came down to making shots. He said that when Syracuse came back from an 18-point second-half deficit to North Carolina, it was because the Orange was clicking on all cylinders. This time, when the deficit reached double figures, Syracuse wasn’t able to respond. Said Hillsman: “We just didn’t make shots, that was it. I thought we got shots, we didn’t make shots.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 10, 2014 at 1:27 am Contact Sam: [email protected] | @SamBlum3last_img

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