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Jan. 25, 1998

Villanova Falls at West Virginia

MORGANTOWN, W.V. - In women's basketball action, the Villanova Wildcats lost a hard-fought 59-55 battle to the West Virginia Mountaineers. With the win, West Virginia improves to 9-8 overall and 5-5 in Big East play, while Villanova falls to 12-6 overall and 6-4 in conference action.

After Villanova sophomore Jenea Skeeters put Villanova up two with two free throws at 55-53 with 38.7 seconds left, Mountaineer senior Talisha Hargis scored on an inside move and was fouled. Hargis connected on the free throw, giving West Virginia a 56-55 advantage with 27.5 seconds left.

Following a Skeeters double dribble, Villanova fouled West Virginia sophomore Mandy Ronay who made one of two to give the Montaineers a 57-55 lead with 16.1 seconds remaining. On Villanova's final possession of the game, senior Jenny Higgins turned the ball over as West Virginia took over with 2.3 seconds left. Mountaineer guard Rebecca Burbridge made two fouls shots with 1.2 seconds on the clock.

Leading 35-28 at intermission, West Virginia scored the first field goal of the second half to take a 37-28 lead at the 18:55 mark. Villanova fought back and finally tied the game at 40-40 with 11:14 remaining. From that point on, the game went back and forth, as neither team was able to open up more than a three point advantage.

Villanova was led by Higgins who had 15 points on five three-point field goals and Skeeters who went six-of-12 from the field for 15 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. Also in double figures for the Wildcats, was junior Jenn Sliwa who tallied 11 points, including three from behind the arc.

West Virginia was paced by Maria Tchobanova who had 12 points and Talisha Hargis who netted 11. Ilse Opstaele added 10 for the Mountaineers.

The Wildcats won the battle of the glass out-rebounding the Mountaineers 34-25. The teams were almost identical from the field, as Villanova went 21-of-49, while West Virginia was 21-of-48.

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