Feb. 5, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Villanova Wildcats gave a valiant effort, but their upset bid came up short as No. 2 Notre Dame tallied a 59-52 victory in a game played at The Pavilion. With the loss, Villanova falls to 16-6 overall and 5-4 in Big East play, while the Fighting Irish improve to 21-1 overall and 9-0 in conference action.
Trailing 47-39 with 7:05 left in the game, Villanova used a 7-1 run to slice the Irish lead to 48-46 at the 4:45 mark. Two consecutive lay-ups by senior forward Laura Sweeney started the run and a three-ball by junior guard Devon Kane pulled the Wildcats to within two.
Kayla McBride scored on a 15-foot jumper to end the Villanova run and give Notre Dame a 50-46 lead. The Wildcats had a great look at a three on the next possession to cut the Irish advantage to one, but Rachel Roberts shot would not fall. After the Roberts miss, Irish freshman Jewell Loyd converted a lay-up on the other end and the Irish were up six at 52-46 with 3:47 remaining.
After Notre Dame increased its lead to 54-46, Sweeney scored on a driving lay-up at the 2:45 mark. The Sweeney field goal cut the Irish advantage to 54-48. Notre Dame would score the game's next four points to open up a 58-48 lead with just 34 seconds remaining.
Notre Dame controlled the early going, as the Irish raced to a 10-3 lead seven minutes into the contest. With the Irish leading 17-9 with 9:08 left in the first half, the Wildcats went on a 10-2 run to tie the game at 19-19 at the 5:17 mark. Roberts led the run by scoring eight of the 10 points in the spurt. Six of the eight came on two three-point field goals.
The Irish would use a 10-2 run of their own to end the half and go to intermission with a 29-21 lead.
Villanova had three players in double figures led by sophomore center Emily Leer who had a team-high 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including a 3-of-4 effort from three-point range. She also had five rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal. Roberts had 14 points, while Sweeney added 11 points.
Notre Dame was paced Natalie Achonwa who had a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Kayla McBride tallied 16 points, while Skylar Diggins had 14 and Loyd chipped in with 10.
For the game, Villanova shot 36.8 percent from the field (21-of-57), 38.9 percent from three-point range (7-of-18) and 60.0 percent from the foul line (3-of-5), while Notre Dame was 21-of-52 from the floor (40.4%), 2-of-7 from long distance (28.6%) and 15-of-21 from the charity stripe (71.4%). The Irish owned a 39-31 advantage on the backboards.
Villanova returns to action on Sunday, Feb. 10, when the Wildcats play host to Marquette. Game time is set for 2 p.m.
NOTES: Sophomore forward Taylor Holeman scored the first nine points of the game for Villanova...Notre Dame now leads the all-time series by a 19-10 count...Villanova falls to 1-2 versus Top 25 teams this year...Tonight's loss was Villanova's first home loss of the season...Laura Sweeney moved past Jenea Skeeters and Jackie Adamshick and into 6th place on Villanova's all-time scoring list with 1,393 points...Rachel Roberts now has 13 double figure scoring games to her credit this year.