Dec. 22, 2011
Philadelphia, Pa. - In women's basketball action on Thursday, Dec. 22, the Villanova Wildcats ran their win streak to six straight with a 56-47 road win at Temple. With the victory, Villanova improves to 9-2 overall and 3-0 in Philadelphia Big Five play, while Temple falls to 5-6 and 0-1 in City Series action.
With the win, the Wildcats are guaranteed of at least a tie for the Big Five championship. Villanova can win the City Series outright with a win over Penn on Jan. 17.
"I thought we played a very determined basketball game today. I liked the way we maintained our intensity throughout the game," said Wildcat head coach Harry Perretta. "Coming into the game, I wasn't sure what type of impact the 12 day layoff would have. We made shots early and I think that gave us the confidence boost we needed."
The Wildcats showed no ill effects from a 12-day layoff as they raced to a 9-0 lead. Junior forward Laura Sweeney scored five of her team's first nine points. Temple responded by scoring the next seven points to cut the lead to 9-7.
Villanova came right back with an 11-0 run to take a 20-7 advantage at the 11:49 mark. Redshirt freshman center Emily Leer had four points and junior guard Rachel Roberts connected on a three-point field goal in the run.
Holding a 31-21 advantage in the final seconds of the first half, Villanova missed a three-point field goal attempt and a put back lay-up. Temple grabbed the defensive rebound, raced the ball up the court and Monaye Merritt hit a three-point field goal from the corner with one second left in the half. The 'Cats would go to intermission with a 31-24 lead.
Sweeney and Leer led Villanova in the first stanza with eight points each. Temple was led by Brittany Lewis with six points. Villanova shot 48.1 percent in the first half (13-of-27), while the Owls were 6-of-29 from the floor for 20.7 percent.
Villanova outscored Temple by a 13-7 margin over the first eight minutes of the second half to take a 44-30 advantage at the 11:55 mark. The spurt was led by redshirt freshman forward Lauren Burford and Leer who each netted five points. Leer's triple from the right wing gave Villanova its biggest lead of the game at 14.
After the eight minute run, the Wildcats would control the game the rest of the way. Temple did cut the Villanova lead to seven at 54-47 with 1:14 left, but the Wildcats made a defensive stop and sophomore guard Devon Kane made two free throws to seal the win with 50 seconds remaining.
In the victory, Leer and Burford led the Villanova charge with 13 points. The six made field goals and the 13 points are a career-best for Leer. She also chipped in with a team-best six rebounds and three blocks. Burford went 5-of-7 from the field and 3-of-3 from long distance. Sweeney added 11 points, five rebounds and two steals for the Wildcats.
Temple was paced by Kristen McCarthy with 14 points and Shey Peddy who had 13 points and nine rebounds.
For the game, Villanova shot 37.7 percent from the field (20-of-53), 36.8 percent from three-point range (7-of-19) and 81.8 percent from the foul line (9-of-11), while Temple was 14-of-55 from the floor (25.5%), 2-of-13 from long distance (15.4%) and 17-of-20 from the charity stripe (85.0%). Each team had 37 rebounds and 10 turnovers.
Villanova will return to action on Thursday, Dec. 29, when they take on St. Bonaventure in the first round of the Monmouth Holiday Classic. In the other first round match-up, host Monmouth will face Norfolk State.
NOTES: Villanova improves to 95-35 all-time in Philadelphia Big Five play. The 95 wins are the most by any Big Five women's program...The Wildcats lead the all-time series with Temple by a 26-12 count...With the victory, the Wildcats are now 3-0 versus the Atlantic 10 this season...Villanova is now 6-1 on the road this year...Laura Sweeney has now scored in double figures in 22 of her last 25 games...Villanova has made at least one three-point field goal in 248 consecutive games.