7:00 PM ET, February 16, 2008
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- When Chandrea Jones made her only basket of the game and finished a three-point play, Syracuse was tied with Notre Dame with just over 3 minutes left and magic was in the Carrier Dome air again.Earlier Saturday, the Orange men had beaten No. 8 Georgetown before a crowd of 31,327, the largest on-campus attendance in the nation this season. It was their biggest win of the season and the women seemed primed to match the feat.Melissa Lechlitner had other ideas. After Erica Morrow had led a 10-2 run by the Orange (No. 23 ESPN/USA Today, No. 21 AP) to put them in front 61-60 with 5:13 left, Lechlitner hit a baseline jumper to break a 64-all tie and followed with a runner in the lane, her only baskets of the game, as the 16th-ranked Irish scored 10 straight points and beat Syracuse 79-67."We were just coming out of a timeout and [assistant] coach [Niele] Ivey came up to me and said, 'Just shoot it. You're going to hit it,' " Lechlitner said. "The next possession I drove it and there was an opening in the middle and it went down for me. I didn't have a good game offensively until I hit that shot. It was good to step up at the right time."Charel Allen had 22 points and 12 rebounds and Erica Williamson had 14 points and 11 rebounds to pace Notre Dame."The two field goals by Melissa really broke the game open for us," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "I think the key possessions when the game was tied were the difference. It gave us a little bit of a cushion and we were able to hang on."In the decisive final 2 minutes, Morrow missed a baseline jumper, Jones and Vaida Sipaviciute were called for fouls, and Jones committed a turnover to halt the Orange attack."We wanted to keep our composure and play our game and not feed into the crowd," Allen said after her fourth career double-double. "I had been struggling the last six or seven games. I felt like this was going to be a good game for me because of the shootaround in warmups."Morrow led the Orange with 19 points, Nicole Michael had 14 points and six rebounds, and Vaida Sipaviciute had 12 points. Jones, the team's leading scorer at 16 points, finished with just four on 1-for-12 shooting for the Orange, who lost for only the second time in 12 home games.Ranked this season for the first time in program history, Syracuse trailed -- but not by much -- for most of the game before tying it and then fizzling when the game was on the line."I'm very disappointed," Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman said. "Overall, they were a little more physical than we were. That was it. They really beat us on the glass. They really took advantage of us in rebounding, and if you can't rebound the basketball, you can't win."Notre Dame (20-5, 8-3 Big East) outrebounded Syracuse 45-31, 20-14 on the offensive glass, and moved to 17-0 in Big East play against Syracuse (19-5, 7-4) and into a tie for fourth in the conference with Pittsburgh.The Irish won last season's meeting with Syracuse 83-55. McGraw knows that's not likely to happen again anytime soon. Syracuse, which lost 20 games last season, is one win away from only the third 20-win season in program history."It's amazing the turnaround in the Syracuse program," McGraw said. "They play hard and together."