Associated Press Notre Dame's Jessica Shepard (23) goes up for a shot as Syracuse's AmayaÂ Finklea-Guity (22) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017, in South Bend, Ind.
Thursday, December 28, 2017 9:30 pm
Shepard's double-double leads Irish over Syracuse, 87-72
JOHN FINERAN | Associated Press
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Junior Jessica Shepard, playing despite a sprained ankle, had 24 points and 12 rebounds as No. 2 Notre Dame pulled away from upset-minded Syracuse for an 87-72 Atlantic Coast Conference victory on Thursday night.
Jackie Young tied her career-high with 23 points, Kathryn Westbeld had 16 with the help of three 3-pointers and Arike Ogunbowale had 12 points for the Irish (12-1), who finished with a 40-39 edge on the boards.
Sophomore point guard Tiana Mangakahia had a game-high 26 points, eight assists and nine rebounds to lead Syracuse (12-2). Miranda Drummond added 15 points.
The Orange had two short-lived leads in the third quarter after Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman drew a technical foul with 7:50 to go in the third period. But an 11-0 run led by Shepard, Young and Ogunbowale coincided with a 3-minute scoring drought by Syracuse to send the Irish into the fourth quarter with a 64-58 lead.
Syracuse: The Orange lost one game — to No. 5 Mississippi State — in pre-ACC play but stayed with Notre Dame for most of the first three quarters. Hillsman seems to have found himself a point guard in the 5-foot-6 Mangakahia, a sophomore from Australia.
Notre Dame: The Irish did a good job defending the 3-point shot by Syracuse, which was 4 of 14 (28.6 percent) in the first half. But the long rebounds found their way back to the Orange, who outrebounded Notre Dame 27-17, including 16-7 in the second quarter. But the Irish had a 23-12 rebounding edge in the second half.
Syracuse: Visits Virginia on Sunday.
Notre Dame: Travels to Wake Forest on Sunday.