Dec. 8, 2004
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Villanova (5-2, 2-0 Big 5) scored 14 unanswered points in a run that spanned both halves, and held visiting La Salle (3-3, 0-2 Big 5) scoreless for 4:41 during a pivotal stretch along the way to a 70-54 victory on Wednesday night at The Pavilion.
The Explorers took advantage of Villanova's struggles from behind the three-point arc in the early portion of the game, and led by as many as 14 points in the opening period. However, the Wildcats responded with a sequence that included a jump shot, steal and subsequent three-pointer, initiating a 28-6 run that lasted 9:32. After La Salle went ahead 27-13 with 7:04 left in the first half, Villanova limited its visitors to just two field goals over the next 11 minutes.
The Explorers led 33-27 after a pair of free throws with 59 seconds remaining in the first half, but then did not score again until there was 16:18 left in the game. By that time, the Wildcats led 41-33, and moments later they put the game out of reach with a 10-2 run that opened a 56-40 advantage with 10:08 remaining.
Junior forward Kate Dessart Mager (Media, Pa.) had a double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds, both career highs. She came off the bench to play 27 minutes, and shot 11-of-17 from the floor. Dessart Mager now has 21 rebounds in the past two games. Junior forward Liad Suez (Even-Yehuda, Israel) scored 21 points, while senior guard Jennifer Hilgenberg (Readington, N.J.) added 12 points and five assists. Suez scored nine consecutive Wildcat points in just under three minutes as Villanova stretched its lead early in the second half.
Jill Marano was the only La Salle player in double figures, as she scored 17 points behind 7-of-12 accuracy from the field, including 2-of-3 from long distance.
The Explorers outrebounded Villanova 32-28, but only five of those caroms came on the offensive end. Meanwhile, the Wildcats displayed outstanding ball control throughout the entire game, distributing 20 assists while committing just four turnovers. Junior guard Betsy McManus (Pearl River, N.Y.) had a career-high eight assists while playing a team-high 35 minutes off the bench.
The Wildcats, who have now won 10 consecutive Big 5 games, will visit St. Joseph's on Saturday at 2 p.m. The next home game is against Temple on December 21 at 7:30 p.m.