SOUTH BEND – After second-ranked Notre Dame fell behind by 15 points early to No. 22 Syracuse, Skylar Diggins scored 21 points in the first half to get the Irish back in the game and then told Kayla McBride at halftime she was counting on her.
I went to K-Mac and told her, It’s all you, baby,’ because I was tired, Diggins said. I told her, You’re going to take us there.’
McBride scored a career-high 25 points and Diggins finished with 24 points and eight assists as the Irish beat the Orange 79-68 Tuesday night for their 21st straight victory.
The game was one of starkly different halves. Syracuse had 12 more rebounds than Notre Dame (26-1, 14-0 Big East) in the first half and had a 47-31 percent advantage in shooting.
The Irish turned those numbers around in the second half. They had 13 more rebounds and outshot the Orange 44-32 percent.
I liked the second half better, Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. I thought we played our game in the second half. We rebounded. We played defense.
Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman said the difference was that the Orange made their shots in the first half and didn’t in the second half, meaning they had to guard the Irish in transition more.
They came out strong in the second half and made their run early and we just didn’t recover, he said.
Kayla Alexander led Syracuse (22-5, 10-4) with 24 points and 16 rebounds, making her first six shots of the game.
But she made just one of her next eight shots and finished 10 of 18 from the floor. Alexander blamed herself.
Those were misses that should have been points, so I feel like that’s on me, she said.
No. 3 CONNECTICUT 76, PITTSBURGH 36: In Hartford, Conn., Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had 19 points and 13 rebounds to help the Huskies (26-2, 13-1 Big East) close their home schedule with their 28th consecutive victory over the Panthers, a team they haven’t lost to in 20 years.
Brianna Kiesel had 11 points to lead Pittsburgh (9-18, 0-14).
XAVIER 64, No. 19 MEMPHIS 62: In Cincinnati, Brad Redford hit a long three-pointer that put the Musketeers (16-11) back ahead after wasting a 13-point lead, and they went on to end the Tigers’ 18-game winning streak. Memphis (24-4) was the only school that hadn’t lost a road game this season.
VALPARAISO 73, YOUNGSTOWN STATE 64: In Valparaiso, Ryan Broekhoff and Kevin Van Wijk recorded double-doubles in their final regular-season home game, and the Crusaders (23-7, 12-3) clinched at least a share of the Horizon League regular season.
Blake Allen led the Penguins (16-13, 7-8) with 22 points.