Notre Dame vs. Syracuse: Here's what you need to know about Thursday's game

By Anthony Anderson
Jan 16, 2022; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish forward Maddy Westbeld (34) goes up for a shot as North Carolina Tar Heels guard Deja Kelly (25) defends in the second half at the Purcell Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse (8-9, 1-6 ACC) vs. No. 20 Notre Dame (14-4, 5-2).

  • WHEN: Thursday, 6 p.m.
  • WHERE: Purcell Pavilion (9,149), Notre Dame.
  • TICKETS: Available.
  • WATCH: ACC Network.
  • LISTEN: WQLQ (99.9 FM).

One game at a time:A journey through Notre Dame's 2021-22 women’s basketball season

About Syracuse

The Orange have lost five straight, though at the moment they also happen to own perhaps the strongest last-five-opponents list in the country. Their defeats came, in order, against then-No. 24 North Carolina, Boston College (14-5), then-No. 17 Duke, then-No. 2 Louisville and then-No. 18 Georgia Tech. Further, their last three scores have all been competitive at 74-65, 84-71 and 66-55. … Syracuse’s 82-56 home loss to Notre Dame on Nov. 14 came in just its second game after a turbulent offseason that included the resignation of embattled coach Quentin Hillsman and sweeping roster turnover. That contest was close much of the way, but featured a 21-0 Irish run over the final 8:06. … The Orange join none other than ND as the only two programs from the so-called Power Five conferences to have five players averaging double digits in scoring. Syracuse leaders include junior star guard Teisha Hyman (15.1 points per game, 5.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 2.4 steals), averaging 17.5 points over her last 10 games; senior Chrislyn Carr (14.2 ppg, 31-of-77 on 3s for 40.3%); senior Christianna Carr (12.9 ppg, 36-of-98 on 3s, 90.6% at the line; no relation to Chrislyn), grad student Naje’ Murray (11.7 ppg, 1.9 steals); and 6-3 grad student forward Alaysia Styles (10.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 53% from the field). …. The Orange are still seeking their first win away from home, standing 0-6 in such contests, and they’ll try to get it against an Irish club that is 7-0 at home.

About Notre Dame

Barring more schedule tweaks, the Irish will play four straight conference home games beginning Thursday — something that’s not happened since 1993-94, when ND was in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference and the four foes were Evansville, Butler, Xavier and Detroit. … Notre Dame, partially because of the schedule-altering brought on by COVID protocols, will be at home for just the second time in the last 39 days. The Irish have played five of their last six games on the road, the exception being their 70-65 win over North Carolina on Jan. 17. … An astoundingly tight race has evolved among three players for the individual ND scoring lead, with two other players not far behind. Maddy Westbeld and Maya Dodson each have 226 points and 12.6 averages, followed by Olivia Miles at 225 and 12.5. Dara Mabrey is at 206 and 11.4, and Sonia Citron 11.2 and 201. Westbeld had stood alone as the team’s top scorer ever since the completion of Game 3, until Dodson’s 23-point outing in Sunday’s 77-63 win at Pittsburgh. That pushed her average to 18.3 over her last six games.

Dec 19, 2021; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Olivia Miles (5) celebrates with teammates on the bench after a Fighting Irish basket in the second half against the Pittsburgh Panthers at the Purcell Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

… Other season figures for Notre Dame’s leaders include Dodson at 7.4 rebounds and 2.6 blocks; Westbeld 5.8 rebounds and 53.3% net field goal effectiveness; Miles 7.67 assists (third in the nation), 6.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals; Mabrey 43-of-107 on 3s for 40/2%; and Citron 6.1 rebounds and 44-of-49 at the line for 89.8%. … The Irish are 17-0 all-time at home against Syracuse and 36-4 overall. … ND’s four-game home stretch is slotted over just eight days. Boston College visits Sunday after beating the Irish 73-71 on Jan. 20. That’s followed by Tuesday’s showdown against No. 3 North Carolina State, then Virginia Tech next Thursday.

Quoting

“I feel like we have not played at home at all. The fact that we can host four great teams at home is gonna be huge for us. We’ll get a chance to really get some rest, not have to travel, stay safe on campus. It’s going to be a big homestand for us.” — Niele Ivey, Notre Dame coach.

— By Anthony Anderson