Freshman Kayla Davis scored 13 points in the loss.
March 1, 2014
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.).