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DWHoops Presents ACC Women's Basketball Digest

  ACC Championship: #1 Notre Dame 68, #3 Syracuse 57
Irish Continue ACC Ownership with Third Straight Title
March 6, 2016

 
By John Mundy & Logan Carter, Photos by Orin Day

Madison Cable (22) was named Most Outstanding Player of the 2016 ACC Women's Basketball Tournament as she led Notre Dame to victory. The top-seeded Irish defeated #3 seed Syracuse 68-57 for their third straight league title.
Photos by Orin Day - Full Gallery Below

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GREENSBORO -- Notre Dame used its perimeter offense and outrebounded Syracuse to win their third consecutive ACC championship 68-57 over Syracuse Sunday at the Greensboro Coliseum. Tournament Most Valuable Player Madison Cable and teammate Brianna Turner contributed 18 points apiece, with Cable dropping in 6 three-pointers to clinch the title in what has, of late, become the Fighting Irish Invitational. Neither team shot particularly well from the field (Syracuse 39%, Notre Dame 42%), but it was the 8 three balls from the Irish that made the difference. The Orange got 19 points from Alexis Peterson and 17 from Briana Day, but sharpshooter Brianna Butler struggled, going 2 of 9 from the field- 1 of 7 from the three-point line.

Notre Dame led by as many as 10 in the first quarter, and never trailed in what was a complete performance from the Irish. The trend continued in the second period, as the Irish stretched its lead to 16 before heading to the locker room up 42-30. Star guard Lindsay Allen played the role of distributor on Sunday, dishing out 6 assist while contributing 8 points in the win. The only other Irish player in double figures was Kathryn Westbeld (10) but with Cable's dominance behind the arc and Tuner in the paint, not much else was needed.

The pressing Syracuse defense was able to turn the Irish over 14 times during the course of the game, but only managed to convert them into 7 points. The Orange didn't play particularly poorly, but going 22 of 57 from the floor against a great rebounding team like Notre Dame creates a major hurdle for any team, much less the No. 17 Orange.

Top Performers

  1. Madison Cable: 18 points (6-9 3FG), 8 rebounds. Literally the difference in the championship. Cable was hot, Syracuse was not, and Muffet McGraw owns the ACC once again.

  2. Brianna Turner, Notre Dame : 18 points, 11 rebounds (5-12 FG, 8-12 FT). If the perimeter wasn't open, Turner was and she when she couldn't convert, she got to the line.

  3. Alexis Peterson, Syracuse : 19 points (6-14 FG, 3-8 3FG). The 'Cuse made 4 three-pointers and Peterson had 3 of them. Notre Dame is one of the most frustrating teams in the country to find an open shot against, and Sunday was just one of those days.

Game Analysis

Why Notre Dame Won: In addition to Cable's prolific day behind the arc, the Irish won the rebounding battle in dominating fashion. Those were really the only game statistics that were lopsided, which is a credit to how good the Orange are.

Why Syracuse Lost: While they needed more of an inside presence on Sunday to combat the Irish, they had a tough day from the perimeter. Brianna Butler is an excellent shooter but the Irish size had a lot to do with her struggles.

The Game Turned When...: The game was tied at 8 after a Peterson three, but from the Irish went on a 9-0 run that dictated the flow of the game for the rest of the afternoon. The Irish seemed to have an answer for every Syracuse rally.

X-Factor: Lindsay Allen didn't need to score for the Irish to win a title game in dominant fashion, which is kind of frightening for any team stuck in Notre Dame's region next week. Allen was content to distribute, which is equally as dangerous as her scoring at the rim.

Key Stat 32nd meeting between the two teams, the series is now 30-2

Areas for Improvement: Syracuse had a terrible last two days from behind the arc, but they certainly can't (and won't) abandon their perimeter game. If anyone is due for a big shooting game, it's Brianna Butler.

Ramifications: Notre Dame will get its 1 seed, but Q and the 'Cuse will also get a good seed in the NCAA Tournament and hope to be a host. What a testament that is to the job Quentin Hillsman and his staff have done with that program. Q has solidified recruiting, and I don't expect much (if any) drop-off next year. After the game, Hillsman said: "We can win the championship, win the NCAA Tournament. Everybody starts off 0-0, so we should get two games at home, we play pretty well at home. We should have moved up somewhere 4 seed, we should be a pretty high 4 seed, go on the road to a very favorable matchup, win those two, Final Four, win that one, capture the game, win that one, cut down some nets. Normally how it works."

DWHoops Photos by Orin Day

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