Dec. 28, 2013
Omaha, Neb. - The Villanova Wildcats traveled to Omaha, Neb., on Saturday, Dec. 28, where they lost a hard fought 65-58 game to the Creighton Bluejays in the Big East opener for both teams. With the loss, Villanova falls to 9-2 overall and 0-1 in Big East play, while Creighton improves to 7-6 overall and 1-0 in conference action.
Villanova started the second half by missing its first eight shots and Creighton outscored the Wildcats, 11-0, over the first 5:22 to open up a 37-29 advantage at the 14:38 mark. Sophomore guard Caroline Coyer ended the Wildcat scoring drought that lasted 5:42 when she made a jumper in the lane. Coyer's field goal pulled her team within six at 37-31.
After a Katherine Coyer three-ball sliced the Creighton lead to 45-40 with 9:39 to play, the Bluejays went on a 9-1 run to open up a 54-41 advantage with 6:25 on the clock. Three field goals by McKenzie Fujan and a three-point field goal by Marissa Janning accounted for Creighton's nine points.
A Caroline Coyer triple from the left wing at the 6:08 mark started Villanova on a furious comeback. After a running jumper by Fujan gave the Bluejays a 56-44 lead, the Wildcats ran off eight consecutive points to pull within four at 56-52 with 3:41 to play.
Creighton forward Sarah Nelson connected on a 15-foot jumper to give the Bluejays a 58-52 lead with 3:01 remaining. After each team failed to score for the next 1:26, the Wildcats made it a four point game when Katherine Coyer converted a running lay-up with 1:35 remaining. Villanova then forced a Creighton turnover and freshman guard Jordan Dillard tallied a lay-up which made it a 58-56 Bluejay lead at the 1:18 mark.
Villanova played outstanding defense on the game's next possession, but Fujan was able to connect on a banked desperation three-point field goal with the shot clock winding down. Fujan's triple gave Creighton a 61-56 lead with 48 seconds remaining in regulation.
The Wildcats would not go away and a Dillard jumper made it a one possession game again at 61-58 with 27 seconds to play. Villanova was unable to get a steal and the Wildcats were forced to foul Creighton guard Lauren Works who sank both ends of the one-and-one to give her squad a 63-58 advantage. A missed three by Katherine Coyer and two more Works free throws sealed the Bluejay win.
Creighton raced to a 12-4 lead five minutes into the game. Janning led the way in the early going, scoring seven of her team's first 12 points.
Villanova responded to the early Bluejay surge and went on a 10-2 run to tie the game at 14-14 with 11:44 left in the first half. Katherine Coyer led the Wildcats with five points in the spurt, including a three-ball and a driving lay-up.
The Bluejays held a 20-15 at the 7:18 mark, before Villanova outscored Creighton by a 14-6 margin the rest of the way to take a 29-26 lead at halftime. Katherine Coyer and Holeman had four points each during the run.
In the loss, Katherine Coyer led Villanova with a career-high 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field, including a 2-of-3 effort from three-point range. Caroline Coyer also reached double figures with 10 points to go with five assists, four rebounds and two steals. Dillard and junior forward Taylor Holeman added eight points. Dillard's scoring effort represents a career-high scoring performance.
Creighton was paced by Janning who had a game-high 19 points and Fujan who netted 17 points. Nelson added 15 points for the Bluejays.
Villanova shot 45.5 percent from the field (25-of-55), 19.0 percent from three-point range (4-of-21) and 66.7 percent from the foul line (4-of-6), while Creighton was 24-of-51 from the floor (47.1%), 9-of-21 from long distance (42.9%) and 8-of-15 from the foul line (53.3%). Creighton owned a 36-25 advantage on the backboards.
The Wildcats will return to action on Tuesday, Dec. 31, when they travel to Marquette for a Big East Conference game. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. eastern time.
NOTES: Today's game was the first for Villanova against an opponent from the state of Nebraska...Caroline and Katherine Coyer have combined to score 53 points in the last two games...Lauren Burford has made a three-point field goal in all 11 games this season...Jordan Dillard had six points in the first 10 games, before scoring eight in today's loss...The Wildcats shot 52.2 percent in the first half and 40.6 percent in the second half...Villanova starters were 7-of-26 from the field, while the reserves were 18-of-29...Creighton improves to 5-1 at home this season.