Dec. 29, 2011
WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. - .-- In the first round of the Monmouth Hawk Holiday Classic, the Villanova Wildcats tallied a 55-44 win over Saint Bonaventure. The win was Villanova's seventh in a row and improves the Wildcats to 10-2 on the season. With the loss, Saint Bonaventure falls to 11-2 on the year.
With the win, Villanova will advance to tomorrow's championship game against host Monmouth. The Hawks posted a 69-62 victory over Norfolk State in the other first round match-up. Tomorrow's championship game is set for 4 p.m.
Villanova owned a 12-10 lead with 11:42 left in the first half, when the Bonnies went on a 10-0 run to take a 20-12 lead. After taking the 12-10 advantage, the Wildcats went 7:30 without scoring a point.
The scoring drought ended when freshman forward Taylor Holeman hit a 15-foot jumper. Junior Megan Pearson would hit a three-point field goal on the next possession to cut the St. Bonaventure lead to 22-17. After a defensive stop, sophomore guard Devon Kane connected on a deep triple from the wing to tie the game at 22-22. The Bonnies failed to score on the final possession of the half and the teams went to intermission tied at 22-22.
The Wildcats shot 37.5 percent from the field in the first half (9-of-24) and just 3-of-12 from three-point range. The Bonnies were 9-of-25 from the field (36.0%) and 0-for-6 from long distance. Alaina Walker led St. Bonaventure in the first half with seven points.
Villanova held a 33-30 lead with 11:44 left in regulation, when the Wildcats went on a 7-1 run to take 40-31 advantage at the 7:53 mark.
After a media timeout, the Wildcats continued their dominant play by outscoring the Bonnies by an 8-3 margin. Junior Laura Sweeney hit consecutive three-point field goals to highlight the run. Sweeney would go on to make three straight triples. The `Cats would increase their lead to 53-34 and cruise to the win.
In the victory, Villanova was paced by Sweeney who had a game-high 16 points. Sweeney netted 13 of her 16 in the second half. Pearson added a season-high 14 points for Villanova, while redshirt freshman center Emily Leer added eight points off the bench. Pearson also added five rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block, while Leer contributed four rebounds and three blocks.
The Bonnies were paced by Doris Ortega who registered nine points.
For the game, Villanova shot 41.2 percent from the field (21-of-51), 28.6 percent from three-point range (8-of-28) and 83.3 percent from the foul line (5-of-6), while Saint Bonaventure was 16-of-57 from the floor (28.1%), 3-of-15 from behind the arc (20.0%) and 9-of-15 from the charity stripe (60.0%). The Bonnies owned a 41-33 advantage on the backboards. The Wildcats committed nine turnovers, while the Bonnies had 10 turnovers.
NOTES: The Wildcats are now 2-0 all-time versus Saint Bonaventure...With the win over Saint Bonaventure, Villanova improves to 4-0 versus the Atlantic 10 this season...Villanova is now 75-33 all-time when playing in-season tournaments...Villanova will be looking to capture its sixth consecutive in-season tournament tomorrow...Laura Sweeney has recorded double figures in points in 23 of her last 26 games, including in 10 of 12 games this year.