There were three BIG EAST women’s basketball teams in action on Wednesday, including one conference tilt. Providence (9-8, 2-3 BIG EAST) won at Villanova (8-10, 0-5 BIG EAST) by the score of 58-53. It was the first Friars win at Villanova since Feb. 25, 1997. No. 9/9 West Virginia stifled Marshall 78-21 in the Chesapeake Energy Capital Classic held at the Charleston Civic Center.
In the Friars win, senior Mi-Khida Hankins led the team with her second double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Fellow senior Teya Wright scored eight of her 10 points in the second half and posted seven rebounds.
Villanova sophomore Laura Sweeney finished the night with a game-high 19 points. She also added nine rebounds and two blocked shots. Sophomore Megan Pearson came off the bench to score nine points. Sixteen of the Wildcats' 38 points came from the charity stripe in the final 20 minutes.
One of the key factors in the game for Providence was the turnover differential. The Friars forced 19 Villanova miscues and converted 15 points. Providence turned the ball over a season-low seven times, from which the Wildcats scored two points.
At a true neutral site in Charleston, W.Va., West Virginia head coach Mike Carey got the effort he wanted from the nation’s top defense and offered no apologies for holding injury-depleted Marshall to the fewest points in school history. West Virginia held Marshall to five field goals, beating the Thundering Herd.
The previous low output for Marshall came in a 46-28 loss to Eastern Kentucky on Feb. 20, 1973. It also marked the Thundering Herd’s worst defeat to their northern neighbor. The previous was 81-39 in 1990.
The Mountaineers (18-1) earned their sixth straight win against their cross-state rival and improved to 34-16 overall against Marshall (5-12).
“We came out and did what we had to do,” Carey said. “I think once they got in foul trouble … they couldn’t be as aggressive.”
West Virginia, which has allowed just 48 points per game, lived up to its billing as the nation’s top scoring defense. Marshall shot just 11 percent (5 of 45) from the floor.
“They’re the best team we’ve played the last two years,” Marshall coach Royce Chadwick said. “They could be cutting down the nets in Indianapolis at the end of the year.”
Sophomore Ayana Dunning scored a career-high 16 points and freshman Taylor Palmer added 14 for West Virginia, which had all 12 players score.
The Mountaineers jumped ahead 10-0, made five of their first six 3-point tries and cruised into halftime with a 41-11 lead, marking the second straight year that West Virginia held Marshall under 15 points in the first half.
Material from interviews, the Associated Press wire service as well as league and team sources was used in this report.