Jan. 12, 2013
PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Villanova improved to 13-2 overall and 3-0 in Big East play with a 68-52 road win at Pittsburgh. The 3-0 Big East record is the team's best conference start since the 2002-03 Wildcats started league play at 3-0. With the loss, Pitt falls to 9-6 overall and 0-2 in conference action.
After leading by just two at halftime (33-31), the Wildcats turned in a sensational second half to propel them to a 68-52 win. Villanova made seven of its first eight shots to start the second half to take a 52-41 lead with 11:12 left in regulation. Senior forward Laura Sweeney dominated the stretch by scoring 10 points in the spurt. The Wildcats also made three triples in the stretch with Megan Pearson, Rachel Roberts and Lauren Burford accounting for a three-point field goal each.
Villanova would use the run to lead by as many as 20 points in the second half. After shooting 39.4 percent from the field (13-of-33) and 22.2 percent from three-point range (4-of-18) in the first half, the Wildcats made 14-of-25 from the floor (56.0%) and 5-of-9 (55.6%) from three-point range in the second half.
On the defensive end of the floor, Villanova held the Panthers to 21 second half points. Pitt was 9-of-24 from the floor in the second stanza (37.5%).
Villanova raced to an 11-2 lead six minutes into the game. Pitt struggled from the field in the early going. The Panthers were just 1-of-10 from the floor to start the game. Junior forward Loliya Briggs connected on Pitt's first field goal of the game when she made a three-pointer with 13:50 left in the half.
The Wildcats led for the majority of the half, until the Panthers grabbed a 27-25 advantage at the 2:37 mark on a Logan triple from the wing. After Pitt took the lead, the Wildcats outscored the Panthers by an 8-4 margin the rest of the half to lead 33-31 at halftime. Two three-point field goals by freshman guard Caroline Coyer highlighted the spurt for the Wildcats.
After starting 1-of-10 from the field, Pitt finished the half by making 10 of its last 17 field goal attempts. Villanova had a similar story from three-point range. The Wildcats made just 1-of-11 from long distance to start the game, before connecting on three of their last seven.
Sweeney was the story of the game for Villanova. The senior had 18 points, 10 rebounds, five steals, four assists and four blocks. Sweeney now has 13 career double-doubles and three on the season.
Roberts also had double figures for the `Cats with 14 points to go with a career-high seven assists. Pearson came off the bench to register nine points.
Pitt was paced by Asia Logan who had a game-high 21 points. Sophomore guard Brianna Kiesel chipped in with 11 points.
For the game, Villanova was 27-of-58 from the field (46.6%), 9-of-27 from three-point range (33.3%) and 5-of-6 from the foul line (83.3%), while the Panthers shot 39.2 percent from the field (20-of-51), 44.4 percent from three-point range (4-of-9) and 88.9 percent from the charity stripe (8-of-9).
Villanova returns to action on Wednesday, Jan. 16, when the Wildcats close out the non conference portion of the schedule with a game at Penn. Game time is set for 7 p.m
NOTES: Laura Sweeney moves into 10th place on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,301 points...Villanova has now defeated Pitt three straight times...Taylor Holeman has made 18 of her last 24 field goal attempts...Laura Sweeney has 18 steals in the last four games...Villanova leads the all-time series with Pitt by a 37-19 count.