March 2, 2013
SYRACUSE, N.Y.--In a game that will be talked about for a long time, the Villanova Wildcats tallied a thrilling 77-75 triple overtime win at No. 22 Syracuse. With the victory, Villanova improves to 19-9 overall and 8-7 in Big East play, while the Orange fall to 22-6 overall and 10-5 in league play.
This was the second regular season triple overtime game in Big East Conference women's basketball history. The other took place on Feb. 9, 1993, when Georgetown defeated Miami in three overtimes by a score of 90-88.
Villanova led 50-49 with 1:42 to play in regulation when Carmen Tyson-Thomas made a three-ball to give the Orange a 52-50 advantage. The Wildcats missed three shots on the next possession and Syracuse grabbed the defensive rebound with 43 seconds remaining. Villanova elected to play defense instead of fouling and the gamble paid off when Syracuse turned the ball over with 11 seconds on the clock. Wildcat junior guard Devon Kane drove the length of the court and sent the game into overtime when she made a tough, contested lay-up with 1.4 seconds left to play.
The Wildcats drew first blood in the first overtime when senior guard Rachel Roberts connected on a three-ball from the left wing. A Taylor Holeman lay-up gave Villanova a 58-53 advantage at the 3:05 mark. Syracuse made it a 58-55 game with a lay-up by Elashier Hall with 1:06 on the clock. After a missed three-point field goal by Sweeney, Syracuse tied the game at 58-58 when Tyson-Thomas buried a tough three-pointer with 13 seconds remaining.
Villanova had a chance to earn the win, but Sweeney's lay-up would not fall and the game went to a second extra session.
Syracuse looked to be in position to win the game in the second overtime. A made jumper by Orange center Kayla Alexander gave her team a 67-64 lead with 1:26 remaining. Roberts kept Villanova's hopes alive when she made her sixth triple of the game to tie the game at 67-67. The `Cats got a defensive stop on the next possession and Villanova had a chance to take the lead, but Roberts missed a baseline jumper.
Following the Roberts miss, Syracuse had the ball with 18 seconds left and the shot clock off. After Hall missed a running lay-up, Alexander grabbed the offensive rebound and missed a short jumper and the game went into a third overtime.
Two Devon Kane free throws with 2:37 to play gave Villanova a 73-69 advantage in the third overtime. The Wildcats gained their largest lead of the game at 75-69 at the 2:03 mark when sophomore Lauren Burford converted a lay-up.
Syracuse sliced the Wildcat lead to 75-72 when Alexander recorded a conventional three-point play with 1:46 remaining. Sweeney answered at the other end of the court with a 10-foot jumper and Villanova led 77-72. The Orange would not go away, as Tyson-Thomas made yet another clutch three at the 1:05 mark to pull Syracuse within two at 77-75.
The Orange had a chance to take the lead with seven seconds to go, but Rachel Coffey's three-ball was off target and Villanova gained possession. Syracuse fouled Kane on the inbounds with 5.8 seconds to play. Kane missed the front end of the one-and-one and Syracuse had a chance to win the game at the buzzer, but Coffey's running one hander from well beyond the arc would not fall.
In the win, Sweeney was sensational for Villanova. The senior standout played a career-high 52 minutes and scored a career-best 29 points on 11-of-20 shooting from the field, including a 2-of-7 effort from three-point range and a perfect 5-of-5 from the foul line. She also had eight rebounds, four assists, four blocks and two steals. Roberts tallied 20 points for her second career 20-point performance. Roberts made a career-high six three-point field goals. Kane chipped in with 10 points.
Syracuse was paced by Alexander and Tyson-Thomas who both had double-doubles with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Hall added 14 points for the Orange.
For the game, Villanova shot 36.4 percent from the field (28-of-77), 27.5 percent from three-point range (11-of-40) and 83.3 percent from the foul line (10-of-12), and 10-of-14 from the charity stripe (71.4%). The Orange owned a 60-46 advantage on the backboards.
Syracuse led 17-15 when the Orange went on an 8-3 run to take a 25-18 lead with 7:14 left in the first half.
The Wildcats responded with a 10-2 spurt of their own that led to a 28-27 Villanova lead at the 3:51 mark. Sweeney and Holeman accounted for all 10 points. Sweeney buried two triples, while Holeman had a jumper and an offensive rebound put back.
Syracuse would outscore the Wildcats, 4-2, over the last 3:20 of the first half and go to intermission with a 31-30 lead.
Villanova returns to action on Monday, March 4, when the Wildcats host Providence on Senior Night. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
NOTES: Villanova has now defeated Syracuse in five of the last six meetings between the teams...The Wildcats committed just 10 turnovers in the triple overtime win...Taylor Holeman tallied a career-high tying nine rebounds...Syracuse was 12-0 at home before today's win by Villanova at the Carrier Dome...The Wildcats are now 2-2 all-time at the Carrier Dome...Laura Sweeney went over the 1,500 career point mark in today's win. She now has 1,502 career points...Three Wildcats played a career-high minutes today, including Laura Sweeney (52), Rachel Roberts (51) and Lauren Burford (47).