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Villanova Falls in Quarterfinal Round of Big East Tournament
Taylor Holeman

March 10, 2013

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The short handed Villanova Wildcats gave a valiant effort, but No. 24 Syracuse proved too tough as the Orange tallied a 61-56 win in the quarterfinal round of the Big East Tournament. With the victory, Syracuse improves to 24-6, while Villanova falls to 21-10.

Villanova played without leading scorer Laura Sweeney who suffered a concussion in Saturday's second round win over Georgetown. Sweeney leads the Wildcats in scoring (13.9 ppg.), rebounding (6.9 rpg.), field goal percentage (.517), steals (71) and blocks (59).

Syracuse shot 43.8 percent in the first half and went to intermission with a 32-23 lead. The Orange started the second half on a 15-7 run to open up a 45-30 advantage with 12:39 to play. Syracuse senior center Kayla Alexander was dominant in the run scoring eight of her team's 13 points.

The Wildcats rode the hot hand of sophomore forward Taylor Holeman and clawed their way back into the game. Holeman scored eight of Villanova's next 12 points to help the Wildcats cut the Syracuse lead to 51-44 at the 8:07 mark.

After two defensive stops, Wildcat freshman guard Caroline Coyer connected on a three-ball to pull Villanova within four at 51-47. Syracuse junior guard Rachel Coffey answered the Coyer three with a 15 foot jumper and the Orange led 53-47 at the 6:10 mark.

Holeman made a turnaround bank shot at the other end and Villanova was within four again at 53-49. Following the Holeman bucket, neither team was able to score for the next 3:49. Coyer ended the scoreless drought when she made a pull-up jumper in the lane and Villanova trailed 53-51 with 2:03 remaining.

Alexander scored on a lay-up on Syracuse's next possession to give the Orange a 55-51 advantage with 1:38 on the clock. The Wildcats had a chance to make it a one point game, but a three-ball by Rachel Roberts would not fall with 52 seconds to play.

Syracuse would make 6-of-8 from the foul line in the game's final 41 seconds to seal the win.

In the loss, Roberts and Holeman led Villanova with 14 points. Holeman's scoring effort tied a career-high. Coyer finished with 11 points. Holeman and Coyer scored all 25 of their points in the second half. Senior forward Megan Pearson added three points, a team-high seven rebounds and a team-best five assists.

Syracuse was paced by Alexander who had a big game with 34 points and 15 rebounds. She was 15-of-23 from the field and 4-of-6 from the free throw line.

For the game, Villanova shot 36.2 percent from the field (21-of-58), 34.6 percent from three-point range (9-of-26) and 55.6 percent from the foul line (5-of-9), while Syracuse was 25-of-60 from the floor (41.7%), 1-of-10 from long distance (10.0%) and 10-of-18 from the foul line (55.6%). Syracuse owned a 44-31 advantage on the backboards. Villanova had just seven turnovers.

NOTES: The Wildcats fall to 3-3 versus Syracuse in the Big East Tournament...Tonight was the first time the Wildcats and Orange have met in the Big East Tournament since 1994...Villanova has made 86 three-point field goals versus Syracuse in the last seven meetings between the teams...Rachel Roberts scored 60 points against Syracuse in three games this season...Villanova falls to 31-27 all-time in the Big East Tournament...The Wildcats are now 3-4 all-time as the No. 6 seed in the Big East Tournament...Villanova committed a combined 14 turnovers in the two Big East Tournament games...The Wildcats have now made a three-point field goal in 301 straight games...Taylor Holeman (14) and Caroline Coyer (11) combined to score 25 of Villanova's 33 second half points...Villanova made 26 three-pointers in two Big East Tournament games...The Wildcats had an assist on 41 of their 50 field goals in the two Big East Tournament games.