Jan. 3, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Villanova improved to 11-3 overall and 2-0 in Big East play with a 70-62 win over the visiting Pittsburgh Panthers. With the loss, Pitt falls to 8-7 overall and 0-2 in Big East action.
The Wildcats raced to a 16-6 lead at the 13:22 mark. The story of the game for Villanova in the early going was the play of redshirt freshman Lauren Burford who scored the team's first 11 points of the game. Her first nine points came on three consecutive three-point field goals.
Villanova would control the first half and go to intermission with a 32-20 lead. The Wildcats went 8-of-16 from three-point range in the first half and Burford finished the first stanza with 16 points.
Trailing 49-37 with 8:52 left in regulation, the Panthers used an 8-0 run to close the Villanova lead to 49-45 at the 7:21 mark. Asia Logan led the Panther run with five of her team's eight points.
Wildcat junior Megan Pearson ended the Panther run by hitting a three-ball from the wing to give Villanova a 52-45 advantage. Two Laura Sweeney free throws and a lay-up by Pearson pushed Villanova's back to 11 at 56-45 with 5:39 to play.
Villanova looked to have the game in control with a 58-48 lead at the 3:40 mark. However, Pitt used another 8-0 run to cut the lead to two at 58-56 with 2:05 left. Briana Kiesel fueled the Panther surge with five points.
With her team up two and struggling to hold on with 1:40 to play, Wildcat junior guard Rachel Roberts connected on a deep three-pointer to give the `Cats a 61-56 lead. After a defensive stop, Sweeney scored on a driving lay-up giving Villanova a 63-56 advantage. Sweeney put the game away when she stepped in the passing lane and scored on a breakaway lay-up to increase the Wildcat lead to 65-56 with just 40 seconds remaining.
Burford led Villanova in the win with a career-best 19 points, while sophomore guard Devon Kane tallied a career-high with 17 points. Kane was 4-of-6 from the field, 3-of-4 from long distance and 6-of-6 from the foul line. Two other Wildcats reached double figures, including Pearson and Sweeney with 10 points each. Sweeney and Pearson also pulled-down a team-high six rebounds.
Pitt was paced by Brianna Kiesel with 26 points. Marquell Davis had 13 points, while Logan added 12.
For the game, Villanova was 23-of-56 from the field (41.1%), 13-of-28 from three-point range (46.4%) and 11-of-12 from the foul line (91.7%), while the Panthers shot 41.7 percent from the floor (25-of-60), 60.0 percent from behind the arc (3-of-5) and 81.8 percent from the foul line (9-of-11). Pitt owned a 37-33 advantage on the backboards.
Villanova returns to action on Saturday, Jan. 7 with a road game at West Virginia. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
NOTES: Megan Pearson has scored double figures in three-straight games...The Wildcats have won eight of their last nine...Villanova leads the all-time series with Pitt by a 36-19 margin...Devon Kane is 31-of-34 from the foul line this season for .920...This was the fourth game this year that Villanova has made double figures in three-point field goals...The Wildcats have now scored 70 or more points on four occasions this year after not accomplishing the feat once last year.