Offense Remains Strong as Wildcats Roll Past Providence, 64-48
Jan. 27, 2009
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Another balanced scoring effort, flawless free throw shooting and 10 three-pointers added up to a third straight conference win and Villanova (12-8, 4-2 Big East) rolled to a 64-48 victory over Providence (8-12, 2-5 Big East) on Wednesday night at The Pavilion. The Wildcats swept the season series from the Friars in their only home-and-home league partner this season.
Villanova made 10 three-pointers for the third straight game and during a stretch of more than 14 minutes in the middle of the game outscored Providence by a 26-3 run. The Wildcats scored 17 unanswered points during that stretch, including the last 11 of the first half and first six of the second period. Halftime came during the midst of a nearly 11-minute scoreless drought for the Friars, who had as little as 29 points with fewer than five minutes to play.
Senior forward Laura Kurz (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.) had a game-high 22 points aloing with six rebounds and junior guard Tia Grant (Lido Beach, N.Y.) added 10 points and four assists off the bench for Villanova, which received at least six points from six different players. Junior guard Maria Getty (Centerville, Ohio) tallied eight points and four assists as the Wildcats recorded an assist on 15 of their 20 made field goals.
The big run in the middle of the game started after Providence took their only lead of the evening, 17-15, on a three-pointer by Chelsea Marandola with 7:39 to play in the first half. Two possessions later, Kurz made a layup for Villanova and senior forward Lisa Karcic (New Hyde Park, N.Y.) followed with a three-pointer the possession after that and the Wildcats were off to the races with the lead back in hand.
Grant made a three-pointer with 4:53 left before halftime and the score stayed 23-17 in favor of Villanova until Getty beat the buzzer with a three-pointer of her own as time expired at the end of the half. The Wildcats eventually led 60-29 after Kurz scored her final points with 4:54 to play in the game. Providence closed the gap with 19 points in the final 4:33 to lead to the final margin.
Marandola scored a team-high 12 points for the Friars, while Emily Cournoyer and Mi-Khida Hankins added nine points apiece. Providence shot just 13-of-46 (28.3 percent) from the field but made 19-of-22 (86.4 percent) free throws as Villanova was whistled for 21 fouls.
Karcic finished with nine points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals for the Wildcats and senior guard Siobhan O'Connor (West Chester, Pa.) had seven points and three assists. Grant and sophomore center Heather Scanlon (Drexel Hill, Pa.) each made both of their three-point attempts in the game and Getty finished 2-of-3 from long distance.
Villanova has now played four straight conference games at home but will step away for a road game at Syracuse this Saturday at 1 p.m. The Wildcats then come back to The Pavilion next Wednesday to host St. John's before playing three of four games on the road after that.
NOTES: Villanova also had a three-game conference winning streak last season but has not won four straight BIG EAST games since doing so in the final four games of the regular season in 2005-06 ... The Wildcats have won their past 11 meetings against Providence and lead the all-time series 31-21 ... The Friars last win in the series was on January 7, 2002, 62-49 in Providence ... Kurz scored in double figures for the 16th consecutive game and led Villanova in scoring for the 16th time in 20 games this season ... Faithful Wildcat fans saw a familiar face in a new role when senior guard Erin Hardiman (Galloway, N.J.) made her official women's basketball debut in the final two minutes of the game ... Hardiman scored two points on a pair of free throws with 1:49 left in her first collegiate basketball game ... She has been a standout on the Villanova women's soccer team for the past four years and follows in the footsteps of recent graduate Adrian Semrau, who played parts of two women's basketball seasons with the Wildcats in addition to starring for the volleyball team.