Dec. 21, 2007
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Playing its first road game in nearly a month, Villanova (9-3, 3-1 Big Five) saw a torrid stretch of three-point shooting come to an end in a 54-46 loss to Temple (6-6, 1-0 Big Five) on Friday afternoon at the Liacouras Center. The Wildcats shot 54 percent (15-of-28) from inside the arc to keep the game within a manageable range but ultimately dropped their first Big Five game of the season.
Villanova was looking to clinch its seventh outright City Series championship with a victory over the Owls but now must hope for a chance to claim a share of the title for the fifth time. Temple was playing its first Big Five contest of the season and has yet to face La Salle, Penn or Saint Joseph's.
The Wildcats had made 67 triples in their last five games and 33 in the last two contests but went just 4-of-27 from long range against the Owls. After scoring its first six points of the game on three-pointers by sophomore Maria Getty (Centerville, Ohio) and Laura Kurz (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.), Villanova misfired on 22 of its next 23 attempts from deep until junior Siobhan O'Connor (West Chester, Pa.) closed the scoring with a three-pointer in the final seconds.
Karcic and Kurz led all scorers with 14 points apiece for the Wildcats. Despite going 0-for-7 from behind the arc, Karcic scored in double figures for the 10th time in 12 games on the year. Kurz also pulled down a team-high nine rebounds, while senior Stacie Witman (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) had four assists.
During a five-minute stretch early in the second half the two teams alternated made field goals eight times. Temple got a layup from Shanea Cotton with 12:19 left to make the score 34-31 and Villanova missed three shots and committed two turnovers with a chance to get back to within one or tie the game. Cotton made another jumper with 9:58 to play to stretch the lead to five points.
The Wildcats stayed within one or two possessions of their hosts until a free throw by Ashley Morris with 2:46 to play made the score 46-39. A layup by sophomore Tia Grant (Lido Beach, N.Y.) moments later trimmed the deficit to 46-41 but the Owls went 6-for-6 from the foul line in the final 25 seconds to secure the win.
Ashley Morris paced Temple with 13 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Shenita Landry contributed 12 points and Cotton chipped in 10. Lady Comfort pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds and the Owls owned a 40-28 margin on the glass.
In the first half Temple led 20-10 but then went scoreless from the 8:23 mark of the period until scoring the final two points of the half with just two seconds left. During that scoreless stretch, the Owls missed eight straight shots from the floor and committed four turnovers while the Wildcats scored eight straight points to get back in the game.
Villanova will have an eight-day layoff for the Christmas break and returns to action at Manhattan on Sunday, December 30 at 2 p.m. Following that contest the remaining 16 games on the regular season schedule for the Wildcats will be against BIG EAST Conference foes.