Published on January 31, 2011 at 12:00 pm The Syracuse women’s basketball team clawed all the way back. Down 14 at halftime last season to No. 3 Notre Dame inside the Carrier Dome, the Orange stifled the Fighting Irish attack in the second period and managed to pull ahead, 72-71, with less than a minute left.In its biggest game of last season up to that point, the Orange was in position to pull out a marquee victory over the third-ranked team in the nation.But the comeback soon fell apart.Notre Dame had made just one 3-pointer the entire second half, but Ashley Barlow changed that when she knocked down the go-ahead shot from the right wing.Still, SU had time. But after the Irish missed the front end of a one-and-one, Syracuse guard Erica Morrow’s last-second shot fell short. A jump ball on the rebound gave Syracuse possession with half a second left. But Tasha Harris’ inbounds pass under the basket was deflected away, and Notre Dame escaped with the win.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThat game last year was just the latest in a lopsided history between Syracuse and Notre Dame. Since the teams first started playing in 1988, Syracuse has won two games against the No. 8 Fighting Irish and has lost 23. The Orange’s only two victories came in 2002 and 1989, and unlike last year’s matchup, the games have not been close.SU (16-4, 4-3 Big East) will renew that rivalry when it travels to take on Notre Dame (18-4, 7-1) tonight at 7 p.m. in South Bend, Ind., where it will look for its first road victory over the Irish in program history.‘From what I’ve heard, Notre Dame is a tough place to play at,’ said sophomore guard Carmen Tyson-Thomas, who has not played in South Bend yet in her career. ‘They get a lot of fans. The fans are all into it.’Syracuse’s one-point loss a year ago was only the third single-digit defeat out of 23 total losses for the Orange against its Big East rival. The Irish’s average margin of victory against SU is 18.2 points per game.The matchup last season looked well on its way to another Notre Dame blowout after 20 minutes. The Irish’s 53 points in the first half were a season high for an SU opponent. They made eight 3-pointers by halftime and were shooting 50 percent from the field.But Syracuse buckled down in the second half. It held the Irish to seven field goals after the break, including two 3s. Still, Notre Dame held on as SU couldn’t execute in the final seconds of the game, something that plagued the Orange throughout last season.‘We’ve got to score the basketball down the stretch,’ SU head coach Quentin Hillsman said at the start of this season. ‘I think we had too many empty possessions in the last two minutes of basketball games (last year) where we wouldn’t score coming down the court. We’d throw the ball away.’To break the current 10-game losing streak to Notre Dame, SU will need to follow the same formula it used to slow down the Irish in the second half of their meeting last year.Notre Dame leads the conference in scoring offense this season, thanks in part to its 33 percent shooting from long range. If the Orange can shut down those opportunities and pound the ball inside, it should be within striking distance once again near the end of the game.And if it can buck the series trend and hang with the Irish, Hillsman said it will come down to the perimeter players with the clock winding down.‘Guard play is huge because normally at that juncture of the game, there’s a shot to be made or a shot to be taken or a decision to be made,’ Hillsman said. ‘That’s when your guards make the decision.’For SU, those guards are seniors Harris and Morrow, both of whom had chances to put the Orange in front late last year against Notre Dame. Although Syracuse has not played any games this season that have come down to the last possession, both have played in a multitude of close games throughout their careers.And in Morrow’s mind, those last few possessions come down to the little things.‘I think we’ve just got to finish ball games,’ she said. ‘Finish out the end of possessions, get defensive stops. Just do the little things that help us get over that last hump at the end of the game.’[email protected] Comments Facebook Twitter Google+
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Discus thrower Traves Smikle has become the latest Jamaican athlete to test positive for a banned substance.Smikle, who competed at London 2012, returned a positive result after the Jamaican trials in June.Compatriots Asafa Powell, Sherone Simpson, Veronica Campbell-Brown and fellow discus thrower Allison Randall have also recently failed dope tests.“I must take responsibility for whatever is found in my body,” Smikle, 21, said in a statement.“However, I didn’t knowingly or wilfully ingest any banned substance. I have requested analysis of the B sample.”Smikle failed to reach the final of the discus competition at London 2012 after recording a best throw of 61.85m.Former 100m world record holder Powell tested positive for banned stimulant oxilofrine, as did Simpson, a 4x100m relay silver medallist at last year’s London Olympics. World 200m champion Campbell-Brown and Randall have both tested positive for a banned diuretic.Jamaica’s team for the World Championships in Moscow next month has also been affected by the withdrawal of world 100m champion Yohan Blake because of a hamstring injury.