Feb. 19, 2017
By Leigh Torbin
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The No. 7/6 Notre Dame women's basketball team rode a 15-0 run late in the third quarter and early in the fourth to overcome 32 minutes of deficit and claim an 85-80 win over No. 21 Syracuse on Sunday afternoon before a frenzied women's record crowd of 11,021 at the Carrier Dome. With the win, Notre Dame (25-3, 13-1 ACC) both maintains its hold on first place in the ACC but also earns a coveted double-bye for the upcoming ACC Tournament.
Brianna Turner had a career-high 31 points to lead Notre Dame, connecting on 13-of-14 from the field. She scored 19 points in the second half alone as the Irish turned an eight-point deficit into a five-point win. Marina Mabrey added 22 points, her third straight 20-plus point game and her sixth in ACC play. Jackie Young scored eight points and added a career-high 12 rebounds.
Notre Dame trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half but came back for victory, turning the tide with a 64.3% (9-for-14) shooting effort in the third quarter and then an even 7-of-14 in the final, decisive, quarter.
Notre Dame's work on the glass proved crucial today, outrebounding the Orange by a dominating 44-20 margin. Syracuse entered the game leading the ACC in offensive rebounding but was held to a season-low five today, helping the Irish establish a 22-3 advantage in second chance points. While the Orange collected five offensive boards as a team, Young grabbed seven all by herself for the Irish.
All of last year, Notre Dame had a player score 20 points in a game 16 times. Through 28 games this year, the Irish have already had a player score 20 points 18 times after both Brianna Turner (31) and Marina Mabrey (22) hit that marker today.
On the season, Mabrey now has seven 20-point games while Turner has six. Additionally, Turner's 31-point night is the team's second 30-point game this season, joining Arike Ogunbowale's 30-point game on opening night against Central Michigan. Notre Dame did not have any 30-point individual efforts last year.
Westbeld Starts, Patberg Returns, Johnson Leaves
Junior forward Kathryn Westbeld returned to the starting lineup on Sunday afternoon. Hampered by an ankle injury suffered in practice on Jan. 18, Westbeld sat out Thursday night's game at Clemson. She came off of the bench in a limited role in the five games prior to Thursday and had yet to start a contest since January 16's game at Tennessee.
Westbeld played 20 minutes on Sunday, scored eight points and had a career-high six assists.
Slowed by a flu bug, Ali Patberg missed the last two games but returned to the Irish lineup, playing three crucial minutes after Lindsay Allen picked up her second foul with 2:37 to go in the second quarter.
Mychal Johnson returned to the lineup for the first time since injuring her shoulder in practice on Jan. 25, but hurt her left ankle in the waning seconds of the first half and missed the second half.
Lindsay Allen moved into second place in school history for the most minutes played. Her 36 today give her 4,235 for the Irish, surpassing the 4,231 minutes played by Alicia Ratay from 1999-03. Skylar Diggins holds the Notre Dame record with 4,639 career minutes played. Today also marked Allen's school-record 140th consecutive start, having yet to miss one for Notre Dame. It is by far a school record for consecutive starts and four shy of matching Diggins' school record of 144 total starts.
Allen scored seven points tonight, tying Letitia Bowen for 25th in school history with 1,219.
Notre Dame heads back home for its final two regular season games. The Irish will play host to Boston College for Senior Night at 7 p.m. on Thursday before a showdown at 1 p.m. on Sunday with No. 4 Florida State. The regular-season ACC championship and the top-seed for the upcoming ACC Tournament will be decided between the Irish and Seminoles (12-2 ACC) that day.
Leigh Torbin, athletics communications associate director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2013 and coordinates all media efforts for Notre Dame's women's basketball and men's golf teams. A native of Framingham, Massachusetts, Torbin graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in sports management. He has previously worked full-time on the athletic communications staffs at Vanderbilt, Florida, Connecticut and UCF.