Nov. 28, 2007
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Junior forward Laura Kurz (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.) eclipsed the 20-point plateau for the third straight game and finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds to lead Villanova (5-1) to a 51-45 victory over Fairfield (5-1) on Wednesday evening in the team's home opener.
During a pivotal stretch of the second half, the Wildcats limited the Stags to just one field goal in a span of 12 minutes and used an 18-5 run to take control of a closely contested game. Fairfield led 32-29 with 13:04 remaining but missed eight of their next nine shots and committed six turnovers down the stretch. Kurz scored seven points during an 11-1 spurt that broke a 36-36 tie and put the Wildcats ahead, 47-37, with 1:35 to play.
Joining Kurz in double figures was junior forward Lisa Karcic (New Hyde Park, N.Y.), who scored all 12 of her points in the second half. Villanova came out cold and shot just 30 percent in the opening 20 minutes, but led 21-20 at halftime thanks to 16 points in the period from Kurz. Junior Siobhan O'Connor (West Chester, Pa.) contributed five points and senior Stacie Witman (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) had a team-high four assists.
Meanwhile, Kurz tallied her second double-double in the last three games and has now scored 70 points and pulled down 31 rebounds in that span. Her 10 caroms in tonight's contest were a game-high. The Wildcats committed just eight turnovers and established a team season high with nine steals.
Baendu Lowenthal scored 14 points and pulled down eight rebounds to lead the Stags, who actually had more field goals (20-18) than Villanova but were hurt by 2-of-14 shooting from three-point range. Stephanie Geehan added nine points and six boards and three other players scored seven points apiece.
In the first half the Wildcats missed eight of their first 11 shots and Fairfield led 14-9 midway through the period. However, the Stags scored only six points in the final 10 minutes of the stanza and trailed 21-20 at halftime. Kurz scored the first seven Villanova points and the team's final nine points of the half, with only a layup by junior Briana Weiss (Piedmont, Calif.) and a three-pointer from O'Connor in between.
After opening the season with five straight games on the road, the Wildcats began a six-game homestand with tonight's win. Next up for Villanova is a 1 p.m. contest against Big Five rival Penn on Saturday at the Pavilion.
NOTES: The last Wildcat player with at least 20 points in three straight games was Liad Suez-Karni ... In 2005-06, Suez-Karni scored 74 points in a three-game stretch between January 10-18, netting at least 20 in each of those three games ... Karcic reached double figures for the fifth straight game ... Villanova is 39-9 (.813) all-time against schools from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, including 8-0 against Fairfield ... The Wildcats won their home opener for the second straight season and sixth time in the last seven years.