Updated BIG EAST Notes
Three BIG EAST teams are in action on Wednesday, including No. 7/6 Louisville (4-0) who takes on Gonzaga in the Hardwood Tournament in Hope held in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico at 9:30 p.m. Rutgers (1-1) is at Temple at 7 p.m., while No. 18/16 St. John’s (2-1) hosts Iona at 2 p.m.
In action on Tuesday, the unbeaten Cardinals topped future league member UCF 94-73 in Mexico. Eleven different Louisville players scored a basket, led by sophomore Sara Hammond’s 15 points. The Cardinals shot 53-percent from the field, including a 61-percent clip in the first half en route to a 55-33 halftime advantage.
No. 5/5 Notre Dame (3-0) beat Mercer 93-36 at home. Junior Natalie Achonwa was one of four ND players in double figures and scored career-high with 22 points. Achonwa also grabbed 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season.
Notre Dame posted its largest margin of victory (57 points) since Jan. 17, 2012, when it defeated Pittsburgh, 120-44 at Purcell Pavilion. Mercer's 36 points were the fewest allowed by the Fighting Irish in a home game since Dec. 28, 2011 (a 92-26 win over Longwood).
"I thought we played really well at both ends of the floor," Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. "Natalie Achonwa, that's a remarkable line. That's amazing. Twenty-two points, 10 rebounds, no turnovers in just 18 minutes."
USF (3-0) topped Bradley at the Sun Dome to remain undefeated, one of five BIG EAST teams to hold that distinction (33-percent of the league). Senior Andrea Smith scored 24 points in 29 minutes off the bench to lead the offense. The guard also added six rebounds and scored 15 of the team’s final 18 points.
Syracuse (4-0) wacked St. Joseph’s 80-39 in Philadelphia. The Hawks were coming off a 50-49 upset of then-No. 5 Maryland on Saturday. Senior Carmen Tyson-Thomas scored 23 points in 29 minutes off the bench. A native of Philly, Tyson-Thomas also grabbed 11 rebounds and was 6-of-7 from the free throw line.
The Orange controlled the game by dominating inside, outrebounding the Hawks, 61-31, and outscoring them in the paint, 36-8. Syracuse converted 26 offensive rebounds into 28 second-chance points. It was SU's first game of 60-plus rebounds since grabbing 63 against Coppin State on Dec. 10, 2011.
Pittsburgh (3-1) won its third in a row, 65-39 over Wagner at home. Junior Asia Logan scored a game-high 22 points and canned 6-of-7 free throw attempts. Pitt had 19 assists on 26 field goals.
Providence (1-3) lost at Delaware 64-46. Sophomore Tori Rule led the PC offense with 16 points. The Blue Hens had star player Elena Delle Donne back in the lineup. She scored 22 points in 27 minutes. The preseason All-American had missed the first three games while dealing with symptoms of Lyme Disease.
Material from interviews, school websites, the Associated Press wire service as well as league and team sources was used in this report. All times are Eastern