Villanova, DePaul impressive in victory in Big East Tournament night session
Hartford, Conn – After an offensively challenged afternoon session, the members of the Big East shook off the cobwebs and provided some entertaining basketball in the night sessions. How different was the scoring in the evening? All four teams, including those that lost, outscored the highest scoring team in the afternoon session (st. John’s, 51 points).
DePaul kicked things off with a 77-69 victory over regional rival Marquette. Anna Martin, DePaul’s star senior guard and emotional leader, led the Blue Demons with 24 points. Martin, who missed several weeks during the regular season with a knee injury, is returning to form at just the right time for head coach Doug Bruno.
“She’s been a great leader for us, she’s been a great scorer for us,” explained Bruno, “but there’s an intangible there that you can’t put into words”
Co-Big East Most Improved Player Brittany Hrynko struggled with her shooting (4-16) but hit big foul shots and handled the ball almost flawlessly in amassing 17 points, four rebounds, and four assists against only two turnovers for DePaul as well.
Marquette struggled under DePaul’s full-court pressure, shooting only 33.8 percent for the game and committing 15 turnovers. Guard Arlesia Morse got Marquette off to a good start, scoring eleven first half points on four of seven shooting, but in the second half DePaul’s adjustments held her to one of nine shooting and only five more points.
DePaul will take on Connecticut at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday.
In the nightcap, Villanova played nearly a flawless game in defeating Georgetown 89-58.
Villanova broke the Big East tournament record for three-point shots made in a game with 17, hitting 54.8 percent from beyond the arc and 51.8 percent overall. They assisted on an impressive 24-of-29 field goals made. Eleven of twelve players scored, led by Laura Sweeney with 17 points.
Sugar Rodgers led Georgetown. She broke the single game scoring record with 42 points. How she got to the total, made for an interesting few moments.
After Rodgers hit a three-point shot from around NBA three-point range with around 40 seconds left, Georgetown coach Keith Brown replaced Rodgers, allowing the crowd to applaud his talented senior, but clearly unaware she was so close to the record books. Villanova coach Harry Perretta, however, was aware, and got word to Brown, who put Rodgers back in with 24 seconds remaining. After two foul shots by Villanova, Perretta intentionally fouled Rodgers, putting her on the foul line with a chance at the record.
“I told her I was only going to foul her once,” Perretta said, “that she had to make those foul shots.” Rodgers obliged, hitting her 41st and 42nd points before departing.
In Connecticut, of course people remember Perretta allowing Nykesha Sales to score while she was injured to break the school scoring record. These “controversial” record-breaking moments seem to just find him!
Villanova will play Syracuse in the final Quarterfinal on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET. It was less than a month ago that the same two teams played a triple-overtime thriller won by Villanova.