ROSEMONT, ILL. - In the semifinal round of the Big East Tournament on Monday, March 9, the No. 3 seed Villanova Wildcats lost a hard fought 58-55 battle to the No. 2 seed DePaul Blue Demons. With the loss, Villanova falls to 19-13 on the season, while DePaul improves to 25-7 on the season.
Trailing 40-34 with 11:32 remaining in regulation, the Wildcats used a 12-5 run to take a 46-45 advantage at the 7:49 mark. Freshman guard Alex Louin started the spurt with five straight points, including a conventional three-point play and a driving lay-up. The five points by Louin cut the Blue Demon lead to 40-39. A Megan Podkowa lay-up put DePaul back up three, before Wildcat junior guard Caroline Coyer drained a three from straight away to even the score at 42-42.
DePaul senior guard Brittany Hrynko buried a three on DePaul's next possession to give her team a 45-42 lead, but Coyer answered with a driving lay-up and Wildcat senior center Emily Leer added a lay-up of her own to give Villanova the 46-45 lead.
The Wildcats trailed 49-48 when sophomore forward Samantha Wilkes connected on a three-ball from the corner and Villanova led 51-49 with 6:12 remaining. This would prove to be Villanova's final lead of the game. Following the Wilkes trifecta, Hrynko made a difficult three of her own and the Blue Demons held a 52-51 advantage.
After a missed three by Katherine Coyer, Podkowa scored on a lay-up to give DePaul a 54-51 advantage with 5:05 to go. The Wildcats had two turnovers and a missed shot on their next three possessions. DePaul took advantage of the Wildcat miscues and increased its lead to 57-51 with 1:48 on the clock. Podkowa scored all three DePaul points on a free throw and a short jumper.
Two Caroline Coyer free throws made it a 57-53 game with 1:16 to play. Following a defensive stop, Coyer scored on a coast to coast lay-up to pull Villanova within two at 57-55 with 29 seconds left.
Villanova fouled Hrynko who made one of two with 20 seconds remaining to increase the Blue Demon lead to 58-55. The Wildcats had two shots to tie the game and send it into overtime, but Caroline Coyer and Lauren Burford both misfired on three attempts.
DePaul led 15-14 with 8:38 remaining in the first half when the Blue Demons outscored the Wildcats 6-2 over the next three minutes to open up a 21-16 advantage. After a Podkowa lay-up made it a 21-16 game neither team was able to score for the next 3:26.
Caroline Coyer ended the scoreless streak when she connected on a three from the left corner to cut the DePaul lead to two at 21-19 at the 2:12 mark. Coyer scored again on a lay-up with 44 seconds on the clock to tie the game at 21-21.
After Jessica January made a 15-foot jumper to put DePaul up 23-21, the Blue Demons forced a Wildcat turnover and turned it into points when Chanise Jenkins converted a lay-up. The Jenkins bucket gave DePaul a 25-21 halftime lead.
Both teams shot the ball poorly in the opening 20 minutes. The Wildcats were 8-of-26 from the field for 30.8 percent, while DePaul was 10-of-29 for 34.5 percent. Coyer led Villanova in the opening half with 13 points, while Podkowa had 10 for the Blue Demons.
In the loss, Caroline Coyer scored a game-high 26 points on 10-of-23 shooting from the field. She also had nine rebounds, three assists and two steals. Leer added 12 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field.
DePaul was paced by Podkowa with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Hrynko had 13 points and Jenkins added 11 points.
For the game, Villanova shot 42.3 percent from the field (22-of-52), 25.0 percent from three-point range (4-of-16) and 77.8 percent from the foul line (7-of-9), while DePaul was 23-of-60 from the floor (38.3%), 5-of-20 from long distance (25.0%) and 7-of-11 from the charity stripe (63.6%). The Blue Demons owned a 37-32 advantage on the backboards.
NOTES: Villanova falls to 4-9 all-time in the semifinal round of the Big East Tournament ...The Wildcats are now 4-2 all-time as the No. 3 seed in the Big East Tournament ...The three games between Villanova and DePaul this year have been decided by a total of eight points...Villanova has kept 23 of its 32 opponents under 60 points this season...Villanova has made a three-point FG in 367 straight games...Caroline Coyer now has eight 20-point scoring games this season...Emily Leer has scored double figures in 17 of the 24 games she played in this year...In three games against DePaul this season, Emily Leer scored 51 points and shot 21-of-38 from the field (.552) and 4-of-7 from three-point range