There were five BIG EAST games on Tuesday night, with home teams winning four of them, including a buzzer-beater at Marquette. A 40-foot 3-pointer by Katie Young with time expiring proved to be the difference as the Golden Eagles pulled out an improbable 51-50 victory over Villanova at home.
Marquette sophomore forward Katherine Plouffe corralled a missed free throw by Villanova’s Rachel Roberts with three seconds remaining and got the ball to Young who raced down the left wing and launched the ball as time expired.
Young ran off the floor towards the locker room in celebration as the Golden Eagles improved to 11-6 on the season and 2-2 in the BIG EAST Conference. The sophomore, who had missed the first six games of the year recovering from an ACL injury, finished with eight points on the night. She had scored a season-high 18 points in the team’s last game against Seton Hall on Jan. 7.
Villanova (11-5, 2-2 BIG EAST) led 50-48 with 1:15 remaining on a Rachel Roberts layup and led until the final shot left Young's hands.
Plouffe, who was a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line, led Marquette with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
The Wildcats were led by 17 points from Roberts and 12 from Laura Sweeney, who was 4-of-13 from the field. Sweeney added seven rebounds, seven steals, six assists and four blocks.
Marquette shot 100 percent (12-of-12) from the charity stripe as a team while Villanova had six attempts.
In our nation’s capital, No. 2/2 Notre Dame held off No. 18/17 Georgetown 80-60 at McDonough Arena. It was a strange first five minutes as the game was essentially played on one end of the court. Notre Dame never seemed to have the ball. Georgetown kept grabbing offensive rebound after offensive rebound. And only had two points to show for it.
It’s a bit dicey to let the No. 2 team in the country off the hook like that, and the Hoyas paid the price. Once the Irish got going, they rolled to a 21-point halftime lead (37-16).
“We were lucky,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. “We were just really lucky.”
The Irish were pretty good over the final 35 minutes though. Skyler Diggins finished with 22 points, Natalie Novosel added 21, and Kayla McBride had 16 for Notre Dame (16-1, 4-0 BIG EAST). Brittany Mallory’s defense limited Georgetown’s Sugar Rodgers, holding the conference’s leading scorer to 13 points on 3-of-18 shooting.
The Irish also went 28-of-32 from the free throw line as they avoided a post-UConn letdown. Notre Dame ended Connecticut’s 57-game BIG EAST regular season winning streak Saturday and improved to 5-1 against teams ranked in the Top 25. The Irish also have won 13 straight, their only loss coming at No. 1/1 Baylor on Nov. 20.
Rogers came into the game averaging 20.1 points, but she had two fouls before the game was eight minutes old and didn’t score in the first half.
“We tried to trap her a little bit, and I thought we were smart in that,” McGraw said. “We made her work hard for her shots.”
In Hartford, No. 3/3 Connecticut beat Providence 96-35 at the XL Center. Guards Bria Hartley and Tiffany Hayes each scored 19 points as UConn bounced back from its loss to Notre Dame.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists and Stefanie Dolson added 12 points for the Huskies (13-2, 3-1 BIG EAST), who extended their home-court winning streak to 94 consecutive games.
“Everyone is really excited with the way we played tonight,” said Hartley, who hit all seven of her shots. “It just makes the game fun again. You don’t want to go into games like Notre Dame where you should have won, or you could have done something differently to win that game. But you come out here tonight and you know you played really hard and you left everything out on the floor.”
Lauren Okafor scored eight points to lead Providence (9-8, 1-3 BIG EAST), which was coming off an upset of then-No. 20/18 DePaul.
The win was UConn’s 168th in a row against an unranked opponent, a streak that dates back to 1999. The Huskies haven’t lost at home to a team outside the Top 25 since March 1993—a span of 259 games.
UConn shot 65-percent from the field while holding the Friars to 15 baskets on 50 attempts. The Huskies had 29 assists on their 36 baskets. All 11 players scored.
No. 8/9 Rutgers (14-2, 3-0 BIG EAST) remained undefeated in league play with a 63-39 win at Pittsburgh (8-9, 0-4 BIG EAST). Khadijah Rushdan scored 14 points and April Sykes added 11 to lead RU. It was the Scarlet Knights’ fifth straight win.
Rutgers will face No. 16/15 Louisville, No. 18/17 Georgetown, No. 2/2 Notre Dame and No. 3/3 UConn over the next month.
“I probably wasn’t the happiest person with us,” Stringer said. “We measure all that by what we expect each day in practice and more often than not, it’s not who we’re competing against so much as what we know we’re going to have to compete against.”
Stringer’s team dominated the inside, scoring 40 points and holding Pitt to just 12 in the paint.
“I was much more concerned (tonight) with the ability to offensively execute, and we didn’t do that,” Stringer said. “In our attempt to make passes to the inside, we turned it over some. But we’ll get better.”
Asia Logan led Pitt with 10 points.
West Virginia (12-4, 3-1 BIG EAST) beat Seton Hall (7-11, 0-4 BIG EAST) by the score of 79-63 in Morgantown. Christal Caldwell led WVU with a team-high 18 points and was one of four Mountaineers in double figures.
Brittany Morris scored a game-high 24 points to lead Seton Hall, while Jasmine Crew added 23 for the Pirates. The rest of the team had just 16 points combined.
There are two league games set for Wednesday as St. John’s (10-6, 2-1 BIG EAST) is at Syracuse (12-5, 1-2 BIG EAST) and USF (9-7, 1-1 BIG EAST) is at No. 16/15 Louisville (13-3, 2-1 BIG EAST). Both are set for 7 p.m. ET.
Material from interviews, school websites, the Associated Press wire service as well as league and team sources was used in this report.