March 2, 2012
HARTFORD, Conn. - In the first round of the Big East Tournament on Friday, March 2, No. 10 Villanova tallied a hard fought 61-60 win over No. 15 Seton Hall. With the victory, the Wildcats improve to 17-12 overall, while the Pirates finish the season at 8-23.
Villanova now advances to tomorrow's second round against No. 7 Louisville. The Cardinals defeated the Wildcats in Louisville on Jan. 28 by a score of 62-58.
The score was tied 16-16 with 6:48 to play in the first half, when Seton Hall went on a 14-3 run to open up a 30-19 lead with 1:34 remaining. Brittany Morris led the Pirates in the run with five points. Her lay-up at the 2:29 mark gave the Pirates the biggest lead of the game at 30-17.
Villanova was able to get some momentum heading into halftime by scoring the final eight points of the half to cut the Pirate advantage to 30-25 at intermission. Redshirt freshman Lauren Burford scored six of Villanova's eight points on a conventional three-point play and a three-ball from the left wing.
The Wildcats used the momentum from late in the first half and started the second stanza outscoring the Pirates by a 9-3 margin. Junior forward Laura Sweeney scored seven of the nine for the `Cats, including a triple from top of the key.
Villanova owned a 39-36 lead with just under 10 minutes to play, when Seton Hall scored seven consecutive points to grab a 43-39 advantage at the 8:26 mark. Morris was once again the go-to player for the Pirates. First she buried a three-pointer to tie the game. After Pirate guard Jasmine Crew made a 10 foot jumper, Morris converted two free throws after being fouled driving the lane.
Seton Hall held the lead until the 5:19 mark, when Wildcat junior Megan Pearson scored on a lay-up off a pretty pass from Burford to give her team a 46-45 advantage. Crew came right back and gave Seton Hall a one point lead with a runner in the lane.
After a defensive stop and an offensive rebound, junior guard Rachel Roberts nailed a triple from the right corner to give Villanova the lead for the good at 49-47 with 3:42 remaining. The Pirates missed four shots and a free throw over the next two minutes and 18 seconds and Villanova would open up a 55-47 advantage with 1:42 left in regulation. Sophomore guard Devon Kane had a big basket during this stretch. With the shot clock winding down, Kane drove to the hoop and scored on a lay-up. Kane was also fouled on the play and made the free throw for a three-point play.
Villanova went just 6-of-11 from the foul line down the stretch and allowed Seton Hall to stay in the game. After Kane missed two free throws with a 61-60 lead with 3.8 seconds left, Crew got off a desperation shot from 65 feet away that was well short of the basket.
In the win, Burford led four Wildcats in double figures with 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field. Sweeney scored 13 points for Villanova, while Roberts had 11 points and Kane added 10. Roberts also pulled-down a team-best seven rebounds.
Seton Hall was paced by Crew who had a game-high 21 points. Morris added 14 points and Tajay Ashmeade grabbed a game-best 12 rebounds.
For the game, Villanova shot 40.4 percent from the field (19-of-47), 35.0 percent from three-point range (7-of-20) and 57.1 percent from the foul line (16-of-28), while the Pirates were 23-of-66 from the floor (34.8%), 3-of-11 from long distance (27.3%) and 11-of-15 from the charity stripe (73.3%). Seton Hall owned a 46-33 advantage on the backboards.
NOTES: The Big East is celebrating its 30th anniversary of the conference tournament. Wildcat head coach Harry Perretta is the only conference member to be a part of all 30 tournaments...Villanova has now won its first game in the Big East Tournament in 14 of the last 17 years...Villanova improves to 4-12 when trailing at halftime...This was the fourth time this season that Villanova had four players score double figures. The Wildcats are 4-0 in those games...Villanova will be looking for its first-ever win over Louisville tomorrow. The Wildcats are 0-8 all-time versus the Cardinals.