While the UConn women’s basketball team continues to dominate its Big East slate of games, the rest of the conference is quite competitive. There have been some upset victories, overtime games and the emergence of a new second-best team in the conference this week alone.
Villanova 63, Providence 58 (OT)
A very rough third quarter, followed by a big rally in the fourth and overtime helped the Wildcats barely avoid an upset against the Friars on Wednesday. Villanova was led by Maddy Siegrist, who played a team-high 41 minutes, put up 24 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Brianna Herlihy was a force down low, collecting 12 boards and blocking three shots.
Mary Baskerville was Providence’s leading scorer with 19 points on 8-for-15 shooting. She also grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds and accumulated four blocks. The Friars had a tough time earning second chance opportunities, with just four offensive rebounds in the game compared to Villanova’s 10.
With this win, Villanova improved to 14-4 on the year and 9-3 in conference. Providence, along with a loss to No. 24 DePaul later in the week, falls to 6-13 (4-10 in conference.) They look to keep some of this competitive momentum, and hope to pull off an upset as the Big East tournament begins this week.
Marquette 85, No. 24 DePaul 71
There’s a new *second* best team in the Big East, and it’s none other than the Marquette Golden Eagles, who beat reigning conference champion DePaul in convincing fashion on Wednesday night. After the game was tied at halftime, a big second half from Marquette was enough to put them on top. Not only is DePaul likely to fall out of their AP Top 25 position, but the Golden Eagles clearly stand alone as the No. 2 seed for the Big East tournament.
The team was led to their fifth straight win by Selena Lott, who scored 25 points along with six rebounds, four assists, four steals and three blocks. Teammate Camryn Taylor was very efficient from the floor, scoring 20 points on 8-for-10 shooting and added a team-high 11 rebounds. Marquette nearly doubled DePaul’s rebounds, grabbing 50 compared to the Blue Demons’ 28.
DePaul was led by Lexi Held, who scored 23 points on 9-for-21 shooting. Despite the score total being so high, the Blue Demons were able to force many turnovers, causing 18 while only giving up the ball 13 times.
The red hot Golden Eagles will face a very tough challenge at No. 1 UConn Monday night and are locked into the second seed for the Big East tournament regardless. DePaul has an easy game against lowly Butler on Monday, then should be the No. 3 seed for the tournament.
Seton Hall 67, Villanova 55
Villanova found itself with yet another bad third quarter, only this time it was too much to come back from, and Seton Hall earned a quality road victory. They were led by a three-pronged attack from Desiree Elmore, Lauren Park-Lane and Andra Espinosa-Hunter, who together scored 57 of the team’s 67 points.
The Wildcats were led again by Maddy Siegrist, who put up 27 points on 10-for-20 shooting. Siegrist also put up 10 rebounds to complete a double-double. Villanova, now 14-5 (9-4 in conference) looks to do some damage as the No. 4 seed in the Big East tournament. This is a big win for No. 5 Seton Hall, who didn’t move up in the standings, but surely got a big confidence boost. This win, followed by a likely win Monday against St. John’s, should give them the momentum they need to be a force this week at Mohegan Sun.