SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Orange were determined to break the attendance record for a women’s basketball game in the Carrier Dome on Sunday night, and that they did with 11,021 fans. The atmosphere of the game felt as if the men were on the court, but it was the #21 women’s team that brought out the crowd.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish (25-3, 12-1 ACC) defeated the Syracuse Orange (18-9, 9-4 ACC), 85-80 before the record breaking crowd.
Coach Quentin Hillsman thanked everyone that helped him and his team make history.
“I think the first thing I need to do is thank our marketing staff and our administration and all our ticket people and just the community for coming out and supporting us in this way. It was a great crowd and a major for our program and it felt great to have that kind of support and have so many people work hard for us to get this kind of crowd. It means a lot to our program and a lot to me personally so I want to thank them all before we start talking about basketball,” he said after the game.
Before today, the highest number of fans at a women’s basketball game was 4,357. Alexis Peterson, Brittany Sykes and Briana Day all agreed that today felt like a “tournament environment.”
The Orange came out strong to start, going on a 7-0 run to start the game and were on roll for three quarters, but the Irish came to life in the fourth and were able to roll past the Orange.
“We played a great three quarters,” Hillsman said.
But the Orange defense were no match for Brianna Turner and her career high 31 points today.
Irish head coach, Muffet McGraw said that she was nervous about this matchup against Syracuse and said that their game plan was to go to “anybody but (Briana) Day. She I think is a really good defender,” she said.
Although the it was almost all Irish in the fourth, the Orange made a case for themselves with 37 seconds remaining and freshman Gabby Cooper went up for a three point jumper to give them some life and bring the Orange within four points.
The last seconds of the game were all fouls and timeouts and with 10 seconds left it looked like the Orange still had a chance, when they were down three. Peterson went up for the three but came down empty handed. Cooper then fouled Turner to give her two shots at the line that she completed with ease.
The Orange are back for their final game at the Carrier Dome this season on Thursday night at 7 p.m. when they host the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on senior day.