March 18, 2012
NORMAL, Ill. - In second round WNIT action at Illinois State, the Villanova Wildcats rallied from a 10 point deficit with 8:23 left to register a 58-55 win over the host Redbirds. The Wildcats improve to 19-14, while Illinois State finishes the season at 19-13.
The Wildcats will play the winner of tomorrow night's Colorado/South Dakota game in the third round at a date and site to be determined.
Junior guard Rachel Roberts came out strong for Villanova, as she scored eight of her team's first 10 points. Roberts' strong play helped the Wildcats gain an early 10-7 lead at the 14:03 mark.
Illinois State outscored Villanova by a 13-5 margin over the next seven minutes to take a 20-15 advantage with 7:21 left in the first half. Following the Redbird run, Villanova clamped down on defense. The Wildcats allowed Illinois State to score just five points over the last 7:21 of the half.
Villanova outscored Illinois State 9-5 down the stretch in the first half to cut the Redbird lead to just one at 25-24 at intermission.
In the first half, Villanova shot 31.0 percent from the field (9-of-29), 26.7 percent from three-point range (4-of-15) and 50.0 percent from the foul line (2-of-4). Illinois State was 10-of-31 from the field, 2-of-6 from long distance and 3-of-4 from the charity stripe in the game's first 20 minutes.
Villanova took a 30-29 lead when senior Lindsay Kimmel grabbed an offensive rebound off a free throw miss and converted a 10 foot bank shot at the 17:17 mark of the second half. The Redbirds then used a 15-4 run to take a 46-36 advantage with 8:23 remaining. Katie Broadway netted nine points in the Illinois State spurt.
The Wildcats answered the Redbird run by scoring the next seven points to cut the lead to 46-43. Broadway ended the Wildcat 7-0 run by nailing a deep three from the wing to give her team a 49-43 advantage with 5:56 remaining.
Villanova would not go away. After an Emily Leer lay-up cut the lead to four, junior forward Megan Pearson converted a conventional three-point play pulling the `Cats to within one at 49-48. A Pearson steal on the next possession gave the Wildcats the ball and a chance for the lead. Roberts went backdoor to get an uncontested lay-up and Villanova led 50-49.
Illinois State netted the game's next four points and held a 53-50 advantage with under two minutes left. With 1:37 remaining in regulation, Villanova redshirt freshman Lauren Burford made a curl cut, scored on a driving lay-up and was fouled. Burford's free throw tied the game at 53-53 at the 1:36 mark.
On the next possession, Redbird center Marley Hall was fouled going for a rebound and was sent to the line for a one-and-one. Hall made both to give her team a 55-53 lead with 1:12 left.
After a Wildcat turnover, the Redbirds had possession with a two point lead and 51 seconds on the clock. The Wildcats got a break when Illinois State junior Candace Sykes misfired on a wide open three-point attempt and Villanova's Pearson grabbed the carom.
Sophomore guard Devon Kane missed a running lay-up with 31 seconds left, but Leer grabbed the key offensive rebound and kicked the ball out to Kane who connected on a triple from the left corner and Villanova led 56-55 with just 23 seconds remaining.
The Redsbirds worked the ball around and junior guard Alexis Jenkins had a good look at a 15 footer but the shot was off target and Burford secured the rebound. Kane sank two free throws with 1.7 seconds on the clock and Villanova escaped with the win.
In the victory, Roberts led Villanova with 16 points, while Kane had 12 points and Pearson tallied 10. Pearson and freshman forward Taylor Holeman had eight rebounds each.
Illinois State was paced by Hall with a game-high 20 points and Broadway who added 19 points. Hall also pulled-down a game-best 11 rebounds.
For the game, Villanova was 22-of-59 from the field (37.3%), 7-of-27 from downtown (25.9%) and 7-of-10 from the foul line (70.0%), while the Redbirds shot 31.3 percent from the floor (21-of-67), 26.7 percent from behind the arc (4-of-15) and 81.8 percent from the free throw stripe (9-of-11). Villanova owned a 46-41 advantage on the backboards.
NOTES: Villanova played the game without the services of its leading scorer and leading rebounder Laura Sweeney who missed the game due to a hand injury suffered in the first round win over American...Rachel Roberts scored double figures for the fourth straight game and 16th time this season...Devon Kane tallied her 11th double scoring game of the season and her third in the last four games...Villanova advances to the third round of the WNIT for the third time in school history....The Wildcats are now 6-5 all-time in the WNIT, including a 2-4 mark on the road.