by Larry Flynn
The women’s basketball team dropped its game against the DePaul Blue Demons this Sunday in a Big East battle in Chicago, 91-65.
The Wildcats have now fallen to 3-3 in Big East play, but maintain an impressive 13-4 record overall in NCAA women’s basketball games.
Villanova jumped out to an 8-6 lead to start the game at DePaul, but, halfway through the first half, the Blue Demons started their offensive dominance with a 10-point lead off a 12-0 run. A nice 6-0 run keyed by four straight free throws put the Wildcats within striking distance, 28-22.
In the final five minutes of the half, DePaul added to their lead with a 12-4 run. This put them up 40-26 at the half.
The Wildcats struggled shooting the ball in the first half, shooting 0-6 from three. Overall from the field, they shot 9-28, a 32-percent mark.
To begin the second half, sophomore guard Caroline Coyer nailed a three to break the ice from three point range. The Blue Demons then spurted to a 19 point advantage with just around 14 minutes to play in the second half.
DePaul never looked back, and blew the lead open to win by 26 for their fourth Big East win of the season out of six attempts. The Blue Demons held their largest lead of the game 1:09 to go, 89-59, an impressive 30-point lead.
Senior captain guard Devon Kane led the team with 17 points, higher than her usual average of 11.7 points per game. Kane has been fantastic in her senior season, and has emerged as the go-to scorer for this Wildcats team.
What has been so spectacular about Kane has been her efficiency from the field and from behind the 3-point line, averaging 49 percent inside the arc and 36 percent from long range.
Right behind Kane, Coyer tallied 16 points in her fourth start for the Wildcats this season. She has been averaging 11.2 points per game on 28.5 minutes per game. Junior starting center Emily Leer also helped the Wildcats effort with ten points.
In addition, junior sharpshooting forward Lauren Buford has now hit a 3-pointer in 15 of the team’s last 16 contests. Buford’s 3-point shooting ability will help this team to space the floor and keep the defense occupied on containing the 3-point line.
Meanwhile, DePaul’s junior guard Brittany Hrynko scored game-high 20 points. Sophomore guard Megan Rogowski had 16 points, followed by freshman guard Jessica January notching 12 points and junior guard Megan Podkowa recording 10 points.
The 91-point effort by the Blue Demons was the Wildcats second worst defensive effort in team history, only behind a 92 point outburst by the University of Connecticut in 2007. Despite a respectable 65 points, the Wildcats must lock down better defensively against their upcoming Big East competition.
This loss certainly hurts the Wildcat basketball team. With a pedestrian 3-3 mark in Big East play, the Wildcats need more wins against Big East competition to solidify their position in the conference. Winning the Big East tournament would be huge for this basketball team, and would certainly put it in the NCAA Division 1 women’s tournament, but, should it fall short in the conference tournament, then it would behoove this team to win as much as it can against their Big East opponents.
The Wildcats are now an all-time 0-6 at DePaul, but 7-2 on the road this season. The Wildcats will now play Xavier on Saturday in the Pavilion at 2 p.m.
Xavier should not prove as much of a test for the Wildcats. Xavier is 8-10 overall, and 3-3 in the conference. Especially considering Xavier’s 1-4 record away from home, this should be a win the Wildcats can pick up in the Pavilion.
Hopefully the women can pick up a few wins at the Pavilion and gain some momentum going into the upcoming matchup at Georgetown University. Following the Georgetown game, the Wildcats will continue into the final stretch of the season, preparing for a bid to extend their season into March and into the tournament.