BIG EAST teams collected five more wins on Sunday, with No. 3/3 Notre Dame leading the charge following a 76-48 victory at Creighton.
Sophomore Natalie Achonwa scored a career-high 20 points to lead the Irish. Senior Natalie Novosel had 17 points and redshirt-senior Devereaux Peters added 10 for Notre Dame (7-1), which rested junior guard Skylar Diggins most of the second half after leading by 30 points at the break.
Notre Dame got out to leads of 12-0, 30-3 and 41-11 at halftime. The 11 points were the fewest allowed by the Irish in a half since Southeast Missouri State had six last January.
In Washington, D.C., junior Sugar Rodgers scored 21 points and No. 20/20 Georgetown (7-2) overcame a double-digit deficit at home to defeat Rider 58-51 for its sixth consecutive victory.
Senior Tommacina McBride added 10 points for the Hoyas, who trailed 37-25 early in the second half and were in danger of losing their first regular-season nonconference home game since Dec. 17, 2006.
The Hoyas responded with a 17-5 run to take their first lead of the second half 40-39, on a runner by Rodgers with 8:53 left. After a Rider free throw tied the game, Georgetown pulled away with a 12-2 spurt.
Villanova (6-2) won its third in a row following a 67-51 victory at La Salle. Junior forward Laura Sweeney had 24 points and 11 rebounds to lead the team. Junior Emily Suhey added 12 points off the bench. Villanova had 21 assists on 27 made field goals and was just 5-of-17 from 3-point range.
St. John’s (5-3) won its third in a row with a 70-45 victory against Hartford at home. Freshman forward Amber Thompson, who has started seven games this year, recorded her first collegiate double-double with a 19-point, 13-rebound performance. Thompson’s double-double also was a career high in points and rebounds.
“I was really happy with our effort tonight and I think that everyone can see that we are improving, even though we are very young,” said head coach Kim Barnes Arico. “It is a process. We are getting better and better. Hartford is a quality team, a consistent NCAA tournament team. So this was a good win for us tonight and we played really well and we played hard throughout.”
Marquette (5-4) beat Arkansas-Pine Bluff 84-36 at home. The Golden Eagles held a 33-14 lead at halftime and never looked back. Freshman guard Arlesia Morse, who has started all nine games for Marquette, scored a career-high 19 points in just 25 minutes.
In Lexington, Ky., No. 10/11 Louisville (7-2) lost at No. 12/10 Kentucky 74-54. Both Louisville losses have come on the road to highly ranked teams. The Cardinals also lost at then-No. 6/6 Texas A&M on Nov. 15.
To try to create a facsimile of Texas A&M’s win over the Cardinals, UK head coach Matthew Mitchell’s game plan was to make someone other than sophomore guard Shoni Schimmel bring the ball up the court, forcing Louisville’s other players to make plays.
Schimmel led the Cardinals with 17 points but was unable to take over the Cardinals’ offense. She shot 7-of-18 from the floor and did not take a single free-throw attempt.
Schimmel was one of only three Cardinals players to have four rebounds or more. Kentucky won the rebounding battle 34-25 despite running a four-guard lineup for most of the game. As a result, Kentucky finished with 24 second-chance points to the Cardinals’ 10.
“You can’t win big games if you’re not going to rebound the basketball,” Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. “That’s a mentality. You’ve got to have a little fight in you to go in and rebound the ball. Today we did not do a very good job of that and unfortunately, we haven’t done a great job of that all season.”
Cincinnati (6-1) suffered its first loss of the season at crosstown rival Xavier 69-60 in the Skyline Chili Shootout. Sophomore Dayeesha Hollins recorded her first career double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds and paced three Bearcats in double-figures. Sophomore Kayla Cook had 15 points and senior Chanel Chisholm pitched in 10 points.
Seton Hall (5-4) lost to Wake Forest at home 60-44. Senior guard Jasmine Crew had 11 points but was stifled defensively shooting just 3-of-21 from the field.
Providence (4-4) lost to Brown 70-57 in day two of the Brown BEAR Classic. Redshirt-senior Teya Wright had 14 points and 17 rebounds for the Friars. Pittsburgh (4-4) lost at No. 7/6 Duke 92-43.
Material from interviews, school websites, the Associated Press wire service as well as league and team sources was used in this report.