WATCH HIGHLIGHTS - Syracuse at Marquette
It was a busy Saturday across the BIG EAST women's basketball conference as 14 teams were in action with seven league games on the docket. Home teams went 6-1 during the day with the lone road victory coming as Syracuse won at Marquette 69-63 in the BIG EAST Network Game of the Week.
With 19 turnovers in the first half, Syracuse, who averaged 19.3 a game entering the contest, trailed by just seven 29-22. The Orange tightened things up and had just seven over the final 20 minutes to pull out the win. Sophomore Kayla Alexander led the offense with 17 points and added 10 rebounds. She scored 12 points in the final 20 minutes.
The Orange dominated the Golden Eagles on the boards, 41-29, and in the paint, 38-26. Junior Iasia Hemingway matched 13 points with a team-best tying 10 boards, while senior Erica Morrow rounded out the double-digit scorers with 15 points and four rebounds.
Tied at 58-58 with 2:55 left on the clock, SU netted the next five points, taking a 63-58 lead on a Tasha Harris jumper. The Golden Eagles made it a one-possession game twice in the final 30 seconds of play, but the Orange maintained its advantage through the remainder of regulation for a 69-63 victory.
There were five ties and eight lead changes. It was the fourth straight regular-season game the Orange have beaten Marquette. Syracuse improved to 14-4, 2-3 BIG EAST, while Marquette moved to 15-4, 3-3 BIG EAST.
Other action around the league saw No. 2/2 Connecticut (18-1, 7-0 BIG EAST) hold off Pittsburgh (9-9, 1-4 BIG EAST) by the score of 66-46 at Gampel Pavilion. UConn senior Maya Moore scored 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Moore leads the conference in scoring at 24.2 points per contest and is the nation's leading active scorer with a career total of 2,628 points.
"Maya was Maya, obviously," UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said. "We go to her so often and she delivers so many times, it almost becomes commonplace."
Moore had 20 points in the first half, marking the fifth time this season she scored at least that many in the opening 20 minutes. Freshmen Bria Hartley added 13 points and Stefanie Dolson had 12 for the Huskies.
Senior Taniesha Harrison led Pitt with 16 points, while classmate Chelsea Cole had 10 points and 12 rebounds.
"I was really proud of my team because I thought we competed," said Pitt head coach Agnus Berenato, who has seven freshman and four seniors.
UConn outscored Pitt 32-22 in the paint and had a sizable advantage at the line. The Huskies made 14-of-20 free throws, while Pitt was just 3-of-4.
"I was really disappointed that we didn't get to the foul line," Berenato said. "It wasn't that we didn't try to get to the foul line. I felt like we really attacked."
No. 9/9 West Virginia (19-1, 5-1 BIG EAST) knocked off USF (9-11, 0-6 BIG EAST) at home 78-52. The win extended West Virginia's home winning streak to 30 games. WVU senior Liz Repella led the way with 16 points and six rebounds, while senior Sarah Miles added a season-high 16 points and seven steals.
The win came in front of the seventh-largest WVU Coliseum crowd in the history of the program as 4,555 people were in attendance.
"I thought we had a great crowd," WVU head coach Mike Carey said. "It really helps our team, especially when we go through some bad spurts, and we get a couple steals and a couple breaks and the crowd gets into it; our team really feeds off of that, so great crowd tonight."
The Mountaineers went on a 19-0 run in the second half and held USF without a field goal from the 17:27 mark down to 10:47. Junior sisters Andrea and Andrell Smith led the Bulls' scoring efforts with 16 and 12 points, respectively.
"They do a very good job pressuring the ball and getting in the passing lanes," said USF head coach Jose Fernandez. "They switch one through five and if you don't read the defense and open up on cuts, they slide through screens really well and open up on gaps. No other team in our league switches as much as they do. Them and Rutgers are really aggressive defensively."
No. 16/17 Georgetown (15-5, 3-3 BIG EAST) beat Villanova (8-11, 0-6 BIG EAST) at home 60-44. Hoyas senior Tia Magee scored a season-high 18 points, while sophomore Sugar Rodgers added 17. Magee scored the last six points as Georgetown used a 14-2 run to take a 60-42 lead with 1:43 left.
Sophomore Laura Sweeney scored 13 points to lead Villanova, which has lost five of six.
No. 13/18 DePaul (19-2, 6-0 BIG EAST) remained undefeated in league play, following a 77-59 win over Seton Hall (7-12, 0-6 BIG EAST) at home. Blue Demons juniors Keisha Hampton and Taylor Pikes each scored 16 points.
Sophomore Anna Martin added 12 for the Blue Demons, who have won 16 of their last 17 games. The Blue Demons never trailed and led by as many as 38 points in the second half before the Pirates trimmed the margin.
Pirates juinior Kandice Green scored 20 points for Seton Hall, while senior Kashmere Joseph added 12.
In Piscataway, N.J., Rutgers topped Providence 60-39. The Scarlet Knights (12-6, 5-0 BIG EAST) remained undefeated in league play and are off to their best start since 2007-08, when RU won its first seven league games. Junior Chelsey Lee had her third straight double-double with 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Senior Teya Wright led the Friars offense with 10 points.
Rutgers also remained undefeated at home (8-0) and hosts No. 2/2 UConn on Jan. 26 in its next contest. The Scarlet Knights handed UConn its last league loss almost three years ago, a 73-71 decision at the RAC on Feb. 5, 2008.
Louisville beat rival Cincinnati 83-47 at the new KFC Yum! Center. The Cardinals (13-7, 4-2 BIG EAST) used an 18-0 run in the first half to break the game open. Louisville led 39-13 at halftime. Junior Monique Reid led the team with 16 points and eight rebounds. Freshman Kayla Cook scored a career-high 17 points to lead the Bearcats. More than 10,000 fans attended the game (10,556) marking the third time this season Louisville has drawn more than 10k.
No. 11/10 Notre Dame hosts No. RV/23 St. John's on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on ESPNU.
Material from interviews, the Associated Press wire service as well as league and team sources was used in this report.