Greensboro, NC -- The ACC championship game was expected to be a good one with the number one seed Notre Dame versus the number three seed Syracuse. This is the first title game for the Orange, so beating the number two nationally ranked team would be huge for the program. For the Irish, this marks their third consecutive ACC tournament championship appearance since switching over from the Big East.
Notre Dame Head Coach Muffet McGraw credited a lot of the success to the senior class and is confident in their ability to lead this team to the National Championship.
"I'm proud of this team and what they've been able to accomplish this year," said McGraw. "I always expect good things from this group because they never disappoint. They know where they wanna go, and they know how hard it is to get there. They're willing to put the work in, and they have the attitude we need to get there."
The game started off quick for both teams. Notre Dame scored first with a jumper by Kathryn Westbeld, followed by another from Lindsay Allen. Syracuse was not going to let their lead get out of hand early though and responded with a three-pointer by Brianna Butler.
Not much later, Syracuse made another three to ultimately tie the game at eight with just over six minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Orange tried to stick to scoring their points from behind the line, but were not successful. They were three of 11 in the first.
Meanwhile, the Irish were pulling ahead, starting the second quarter with a 22-14 lead. From there, the Irish took off and didn't look back. Their speed was difficult for Syracuse to defend.
The Irish even took their turn at trying out the three-point game with three made in just over a three-minute time span to take a 36-22 lead with about five minutes remaining in the half.
Teams traded off points, and Syracuse was able to close the deficit to 12, entering the locker room down 42-30.
Irish's Madison Cable led both teams in the first half with 12 points, followed by teammate Brianna Turner with 10. The biggest difference was the shooting differential. Notre Dame finished the half shooting 56.5 percent, while Syracuse only made 33.9 percent of the shots they took.
The second half started much more physical, but the game was still somewhat one-sided. The Irish extended their lead to 16 after a layup by Brianna Turner with 7:34 left in the third quarter.
The Orange were never able to get this game back within single digits. Alexis Peterson scored six of Syracuse's 17 points in the third, which was their highest-scoring quarter.
The Irish went into the final quarter with a 61-47 lead. Nearly a minute in, Cable made her sixth three of the game, establishing a new career high. It was a low-scoring quarter for both teams, but Notre Dame won by a final score of 68-57.
The game was in their control from the second quarter. Once their lead reached double digits, the Orange couldn't recover. Syracuse played a well-fought game, but were no match for the top-ranked Irish, who clinched their third straight ACC championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
"It's great, obviously," said Cable regarding the tournament win. "But this year, we're looking to take it a step further and win the next tournament."
Syracuse normally averages 25 takeaways per game, but were only able to get 14 from Notre Dame. Peterson led both teams with 19 points. Turner and Cable weren't far behind her with 18 points each. Turner also finished with 11 rebounds.
The ACC Tournament MVP went unsurprisingly to Cable, who scored her 1000th career point in the first minute of play.
"It is great to win [MVP], but I couldn't have won it without my teammates," said Cable. "Everyone played great and contributed, so I think that's what I'm most happy about."