Dec. 2, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Villanova tallied its fifth win in a row with a 49-44 victory over the visiting LaSalle Explorers. With the win, the Wildcats improve to 6-1 overall and 1-0 in Philadelphia Big Five play, while LaSalle falls to 1-7 overall and 0-2 in City Series action.
Villanova controlled the early stages of the game, as the Wildcats raced to an 11-0 lead at the 14:23 mark. Senior forward Laura Sweeney led the Wildcat charge by scoring six of her team's first 11 points.
After an Emily Leer lay-up gave Villanova a 15-4 lead at the 9:30 mark, the Explorers outscored the Wildcats, 14-2, over the next seven minutes to take an 18-17 advantage with 2:13 to play in the first half. Senior guard Brittany Wilson was the go-to player for LaSalle. She scored 10 of the 14 points for the Explorers.
Sweeney made two free throws and converted a lay-up over the last minute of the half to give the Wildcats a 21-18 halftime advantage .
Both teams shot the ball poorly and each committed nine first half turnovers. Villanova was 8-of-24 from the field for 33.3 percent, while the Explorers were 7-of-30 for 23.3 percent.
LaSalle dominated the first eight minutes of the second half to take control of the contest. The Explorers outscored the Wildcats 13-3 to grab a 31-24 lead with 12:35 to play in the second half.
After LaSalle's Ebonee Jones made a lay-up to give the Explorers a 33-27 lead with 11:39 on the clock, the Wildcats would go on a 17-0 run to grab a 44-33 advantage at the 5:59 mark. Following a Caroline Coyer three-ball, Leer took over the game for the Wildcats. She buried two three-point field goals to go with a driving lay-up for eight points in the spurt.
Villanova started the half by going 0-of-12 from the field and finished by connecting on 10-of-15 from the floor.
The Wildcats led 48-40 with 2:35 to play when neither team was able to score for the next two minutes. LaSalle ended the scoring drought with a Jess Koci lay-up to pull the Explorers within six at 48-42 with 52 seconds remaining.
A missed Megan Pearson running one-hander gave LaSalle the ball back with 30 seconds to play. The Explorers capitalized on the opportunity and closed to within four at 48-44 when Ebonee Jones scored on a driving lay-up.
Wildcat senior guard Rachel Roberts was fouled with 16 seconds left and made one of two to increase Villanova's lead to 49-44. A missed LaSalle three-ball and a Wildcat rebound sealed the game for the Wildcats.
Leer led Villanova in the win with a career-high 19 points and a career-high tying seven rebounds. Leer was 8-of-10 from the field (3-of-4 from three-point range), while the rest of the Wildcat team was 10-of-41 from the floor. Sweeney posted her second double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds. She also added three blocks and a steal.
LaSalle was paced by Brittany Wilson with 23 points and Jones who chipped in with 12.
For the game, Villanova was 18-of-51 from the field (35.3%), 6-of-17 from three-point range (35.3%) and 7-of-12 from the foul line (58.3%), while LaSalle shot 28.8 percent from the floor (17-of-59), 25.0 percent from long distance (3-of-12) and 100.0 percent from the foul line (7-of-7). LaSalle owned a 39-38 advantage on the backboards. Villanova finished with 14 turnovers, while LaSalle had 13.
The Wildcats will return to action on Saturday, Dec. 8, when Villanova travel to Saint Joseph's. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.
NOTES: Laura Sweeney has scored double figures in all seven games this year...Sweeney now has 12 career double-doubles...The Wildcats lead the all-time series with LaSalle by a 33-9 count and have won four straight over the Explorers...Villanova is now 97-35 all-time in Big Five play. The 97 wins are the most by any Big Five women's school...With her 10 rebounds today, Laura Sweeney moves into ninth place all-time at Villanova with 637 career caroms.