@Xavier_WBB Drops Close One To Villanova On Senior Day

Freshman Kayla Davis scored 13 points in the loss.

Freshman Kayla Davis scored 13 points in the loss.

March 1, 2014

Box Score


Box Score (PDF)

CINCINNATI - Four players scored in double figures as the Xavier women's basketball team shot 52.3 percent from the field but dropped a hard fought game to Villanova, 57-55, in BIG EAST Conference action at Cintas Center on Saturday afternoon.

With the loss the Musketeers fall to 8-21 overall and 3-14 in BIG EAST play, while the Wildcats improve to 21-7 on the season and 11-6 in conference.

The Blue and White, who entered the contest ranked fourth in the conference play in three-point field goals per game (7.0), knocked down four trifectas on just nine attempts.

Senior Ashley Wanninger (Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain) and freshman Kayla Davis (Brampton, Ontario/St. Marguerite d'Youville) each finished with a game-high 13 points. Wanninger shot 5-of-11 from the field and knocked down 2-of-4 shots from long distance, while Davis shot 6-of-10 from the floor and 1-of-1 from behind the arc. Freshman Maddison Blackwell (Gahanna, Ohio/Lincoln HS) and sophomore Briana Glover (Mason, Ohio/Mason) each recorded double-doubles with a 12 points and 10 rebounds and 10 points and 12 boards, respectively.

Villanova opened the game with a triple from Katherine Coyer to grab an early 3-0 lead at the 18:00 minute mark. Xavier responded with an 11-3 run, capped by a layup from freshman Sydney Neal (Mason, Ohio/Mason HS), to grab an 11-6 lead (13:59).

After a triple from Devon Kane cut the XU lead down to 19-18 (8:47), the Blue and White responded with 6-2 run, highlighted by a pair of buckets from Davis, to increase their lead to 25-20 with just 6:39 left in the opening half.

Villanova outscored the Musketeers 11-8 over the final five minutes of the period, but Xavier took a 33-31 lead into the locker room at the intermission.

The Blue and White, led Davis' 13 points, knocked down 14-of-24 (58.3 percent) shots from the field in the opening 20 minutes, while Villanova was successful on 36.7 percent (11-of-30) of their attempts. Xavier outrebounded the Wildcats 16-14 in the first half and won the points in the paint battle 20-2.

A nice pull-up jumper from sophomore Aliyah Zantt (Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Reynoldsburg HS) gave XU a 37-34 lead 1:30 into the second half. Villanova responded with a 19-8 run and grabbed a 53-45 lead with 8:47 left in regulation.

A three from Wanninger and a layup from Blackwell cut the deficit to 55-50 with 4:25 left to play. Villanova's Taylor Holeman scored a layup to put the Wildcats ahead seven points (57-50) with just under four minutes remaining.

Xavier went on to hold Villanova scoreless for the final 3:55 of the game and after Glover's layup pulled XU within two points (57-55) with 19 seconds left, Xavier had a chance to go for the tie or the win. Zantt drove coast-to-coast and found a wide-open Neal in the corner but her three-point game-winning attempt was deflected and the Musketeers fell by the final 57-55.

Head coach Brian Neal and his squad showed a ton of resiliency in the contest. The Musketeers, who had only seven active players, surrendered 14 three-pointers to Villanova but were in the contest until the last possession, thanks to scoring 34 points in the paint and outrebounding the Wildcats 36-25.

The Blue and White will return to the court for their final regular season contest before heading to Chicago to participate in the 2014 BIG EAST Tournament (March 8-11). XU will wrap up the regular season slate at Seton Hall on March 4 (7 p.m.).

Fans can follow Xavier women's basketball on the program's Twitter (@Xavier_WBB) and Instagram (@Xavier_WBB) accounts and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Xavierwbb.