Wildcats Drop Big East Opener to No. 1 Connecticut 88-38
Jan. 3, 2008
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Top-ranked Connecticut (12-0, 1-0 Big East) shot 51 percent from the field and defeated Villanova (10-4, 0-1 Big East) by a margin of 88-38 on Thursday night at the Pavilion in the conference opener for both teams. The Wildcats were playing against their first ranked opponent of the season and suffered the worst home loss, by one point, in program history.
The Huskies quickly pulled away from a 10-10 tie in the middle of the first half and held the Wildcats to just two field goals in the final 13:17 of the period. Connecticut surged ahead with a 21-2 run in just 5:52 and the spurt grew to 42-5 by the time the Huskies made the score 52-15 in the opening minutes of the second half.
Sophomore Maria Getty (Centerville, Ohio) continued her hot shooting from beyond the three-point arc for Villanova, hitting 4-of-6 shots from long distance to lead the Wildcats with 12 points. Senior Stacie Witman (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) added 10 points for Villanova, which suffered only the second loss by as many as 50 points in its history.
Connecticut received scoring from 11 different players and put four in double figures to remain undefeated on the season. Sophomore Tina Charles and freshman Maya Moore each registered double-doubles, with Charles leading all scorers with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Moore added 12 points, 11 boards and six assists, while senior Mel Thomas made four three-pointers and scored 16 points. Junior Renee Montgomery added 11 points and six assists.
The Wildcats stuck to their typical game plan against a strong opponent and dished out assists on 11 of their 14 field goals in the contest. Villanova also committed just 12 turnovers despite a swarming Huskies defense that had forced its opponents into an average of 22.5 turnovers per contest in the team's first 11 games.
Ultimately however, the Wildcats were overmatched against the nation's top-ranked team. Villanova was outrebounded by a 57-17 margin and Connecticut shot 33-of-65 (50.8 percent) from the field in the game. In comparison, the Wildcats were held to 26.9 percent shooting (14-of-52) for the game and were held to fewer than 40 points for the first time since a 62-32 loss to Rutgers last season on February 17, 2007.
Villanova plays four of its first five conference games at home and will return to action at the Pavilion on Tuesday evening with a 7 p.m. game against Seton Hall.
NOTES: The Wildcats were playing the nation's No. 1 team for the first time since posting a 52-48 victory over Connecticut on February 28, 2004 at the Pavilion ... At the time, Villanova had won two straight games against the Huskies ... Connecticut has won the last four meetings since that game ... The only game in program history where the Wildcats suffered a loss by more points was in a 95-36 setback at the hands of Cheyney in the 1977-78 season ... The worst previous home loss for Villanova was a 74-25 loss to Cheyney to open the 1976-77 campaign.