Red-hot Notre Dame overcomes slow start to beat Syracuse

By The Sports Network
February 26, 2013 - 10:03pm

South Bend, IN (Sports Network) - Skylar Diggins filled the stat sheet with 24 points, eight assists and six steals, and the second-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish recorded their 21st straight victory with a 79-68 decision over the 22nd-ranked Syracuse Orange.

Kayla McBride added 25 points and five boards for the Fighting Irish (26-1, 14-0 Big East), who improved to 8-1 against ranked opponents this year. Natalie Achonwa donated 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Kayla Alexander ended with 24 points and 16 rebounds for the Orange (22-5, 10-4), who have lost two in a row since a six-game winning streak. Carmen Tyson-Thomas tallied 18 points and seven boards, while Brittney Sykes posted a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Syracuse led by as many as 15 in the first half, but Notre Dame ended the opening period strong.

Trailing 37-23 with 6:19 left, the Fighting Irish went on a 17-6 surge to cut the gap to three. Diggins and McBride tallied nine and six points, respectively, during the burst that Markisha Wright capped with a layup, making it 43-40 at the break.

Notre Dame carried that momentum over to the second half, with a 9-0 run to start the final stanza. Achonwa's three-point play gave the Fighting Irish a 49-43 lead with 16:11 to play.

Notre Dame led by at least four the rest of the way. It was the 18th straight Big East win for the Fighting Irish, tying a school record.