Fourteen BIG EAST women’s basketball teams were in action on Saturday as seven league games were on the schedule. In televised action, No. 2/2 UConn narrowly beat No. 13/12 Notre Dame 79-76 in South Bend, while No. 16/23 DePaul topped No. 18/18 St. John’s 69-54 to snap the Red Storm’s 12-game home court winning streak.
UConn sophomore Kelly Faris scored a career-high 20 points, including a game-winning layup with 14 seconds left as the Huskies (14-1, 4-0 BIG EAST) escaped with the win. Faris was a perfect 10-of-10 from the free throw line and had six rebounds and five assists in 38 minutes. Senior Maya Moore scored a game-high 31 points and also was a perfect 7-of-7 from the free throw stripe. UConn shot 26-of-27 from the line as a team.
“Probably the biggest key to how this team goes down the road is going to be how Kelly plays,” UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said. “When she’s in a groove like she was today, that kid is really, really good. I wouldn’t trade her for anybody, anyone in the league.”
The loss spoiled an outstanding effort by Irish junior Natalie Novosel, who scored Notre Dame’s last six points and all but two of her 16 in the second half. Sophomore Skylar Diggins also had 16 and senior Devereaux Peters had a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, but she was held to just four points and three boards in the second half. Notre Dame moved to 13-4 on the year, 2-1 league play.
There was a sellout crowd of 9,149 despite a snowstorm that caused a State of Emergency. The last three regular-season meetings and five of the last six have taken place before soldout crowds.
DePaul (15-2, 3-0 BIG EAST) won at St. John’s (12-4, 1-2 BIG EAST) for its 12th win in the last 13 games. Sophomore Anna Martin scored a season-high 24 points to lead the Blue Demons offense. DePaul led by six at halftime (33-27) and opened the second frame with a 14-4 run to put it away. The win marks the first time DePaul has started BIG EAST play 3-0 since joining the conference in 2005-06.
St. John’s lost its first home game in more than a year. Prior to Saturday, St. John’s last home loss was on Jan. 2, 2010 to then-No. 19 West Virginia 54-50. No Red Storm player scored in double figures as junior Da’Shena Stevens had seven points in 28 minutes off the bench.
“She broke a team rule and it was disappointing and that’s why she came off the bench,” St. John’s head coach Kim Barnes Arico said. “We need to do the right thing all the time and get on the same page and we’ll move forward.”
No. 6/7 West Virginia (16-0, 3-0 BIG EAST) remained perfect on the year with a 72-44 victory at home over Cincinnati (8-7, 1-2 BIG EAST). The Mountaineers have won 29 in a row at home, dating back to February 2009.
WVU senior Madina Ali put up 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season. Senior Liz Repella and sophomore Asya Bussie each blocked five shots to contribute to the overall team total of 17, marking a career-high for Repella. Seventeen blocks marks the third most in program history.
The 20th largest crowd in program history attended the game, with 2,797 fans coming out to watch.
“They are the No. 1 team in the country in defensive scoring for a reason,” said Cincinnati head coach Jamelle Elliott. “They are physical. They deny you the ball. They switch every screen. They are athletic and they have some size to them. It was hard for us to get a shot.”
Cincinnati shot a season-low 19.7 percent for the game, hitting on 12-of-61 field goals. Senior Shareese Ulis led the Bearcats with 16 points and knocked down four 3-pointers.
Marquette (13-3, 1-2 BIG EAST) earned its first league win of the season with a 75-73 double-overtime victory at Georgetown (13-4, 1-2 BIG EAST) to snap the Hoyas’ 23-game home court winning streak. Marquette also improved to 6-0 all-time against Georgetown.
Five Marquette players finished in double figures, led by 19 points from senior Tatiyiana McMorris. Senior Angel Robinson added 18 points, while freshman Courtney Weibel finished with 12.
The Hoyas were led by sophomore Sugar Rodgers’ 26 points and 10 rebounds, while junior Tia Magee had 15 points and seven rebounds. Junior Adria Crawford had 12 points and a team-best eight boards in the game.
No. 23/RV Syracuse (13-2, 1-1 BIG EAST) won its 12th in a row at home as it beat Seton Hall (7-9, 0-3 BIG EAST) by the score of 75-50 in the Carrier Dome.
SU sophomore guard Elashier Hall led all scorers with 16 points while adding four rebounds, three assists and a trio of steals. Redshirt freshman Shakeya Leary helped the Orange outrebound the Pirates 53-42. Leary netted a career-high tying 13 points, while grabbing 19 rebounds – which ties a single-game record for the Orange this season and notched a career-high seven blocks.
Freshman Jazzmine Johnson led the Hall with 10 points in 23 minutes off the bench.
Rutgers (9-6, 2-0 BIG EAST) remained perfect at home with a 57-43 win over Villanova (7-8, 0-3 BIG EAST). The Scarlet Knights are 7-0 at home this season. Sophomore Monique Oliver scored a team-high 17 points and grabbed eight boards to lead the Scarlet Knights.
Villanova sophomore guard Rachel Roberts had 14 points for Villanova.
Providence (8-7, 1-2 BIG EAST) earned its first league win of the year with a 64-57 victory over USF (9-8, 0-3 BIG EAST). Sophomore Symone Roberts led the PC offense with 13 points. USF had 20 points from junior college transfer Andrea Smith, but it was not enough.
Material from interviews, the Associated Press wire service as well as league and team sources was used in this report.