Can the Orange get win No. 2 in this early conference opener?
Day & Time: Sunday, November 14, noon ET
Location: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
TV/Streaming: ACC Network
Radio: Cuse.com, ESPN 97.7
Rivalry: 35-4, Notre Dame
Current Streak: 1, Syracuse
First Meeting: These teams first squared off in South Bend back in 1988 before they were conference-mates, with Notre Dame taking the game, 81-64.
Last Meeting: While the last game was technically postponed, Syracuse and Notre Dame also had an earlier matchup that did occur last season. The Orange beat the Irish, 81-69 at the Dome, behind a flurry of fourth quarter scoring. SU went into the final quarter down 65-58, but outscored UND 23-4 the rest of the way to secure the win. Tiana Mangakahia led ‘Cuse with 19 points (plus 11 assists and nine boards). Kamilla Cardoso scored 18, while Kiara Lewis had 16 on the game.
Head Coaches: Syracuse – Vonn Read (1st year, 1-0) | Notre Dame – Niele Ivey (2nd year, 12-10)
Coach Bio: After wrapping up her career playing for Notre Dame, Ivey played in the WNBA from 2001-05 before heading to Xavier, then back to her alma mater as an assistant from 2007-19. Following a one-year stay with the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies, she was back at the college level, taking over at Notre Dame.
Last Year: Ivey’s first season with the Irish showed the team bounce back slightly from Muffett McGraw’s final year, when they went 13-18 overall and 8-10 in the ACC. Ivey’s squad was 10-10 during the 2020-21 campaign, mostly beating the middle of the conference. They remained competitive in losses to the ACC’s top teams, though.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Even if she’s not their leading scorer, Madelyn Westbeld may pose the biggest problem for the Orange on Sunday. The 6-foot-3 forward is currently averaging 14 points per game for the Irish on 13-of-25 shooting, and more crucially, she has 23 bards on the season already (including eight on the offensive end). For a team like SU, which doesn’t have a ton of size, she’s likely to be a matchup challenge.
If Syracuse Wins: This season might wind up turning out better than we thought. While Notre Dame isn’t at the top of the ACC right now, being able to beat a competent Fighting Irish program is a great step in the right direction.
If Syracuse Loses: Can’t say we’ll be surprised, unfortunately. There’s still a lot of work left to do for this Orange squad to be prepared for ACC play.
Fun Fact: Along with the start of the conference schedule, the game serves as an important moment for Syracuse athletics, too. The Orange will be retiring the jersey of former women’s basketball standout Felisha Legette-Jack, making her the first SU women’s athlete to receive such an honor.