Villanova 77, No. 22 Syracuse 75

Laura Sweeney scored a season-high 29 points and Rachel Roberts

added 20 to help Villanova upset No. 22 Syracuse 77-75 in triple

overtime Saturday.

Devon Kane, who hit a game-tying layup at the end of regulation,

added 10 points for Villanova (19-6, 8-7) in just the second

three-overtime game in Big East regular-season history.

The first was a triple-overtime thriller that saw Georgetown

beat Miami on Feb. 9, 1993.

Villanova jumped ahead 58-53 in the first overtime but went

scoreless over the final 3 minutes as Syracuse (22-6, 10-5) rallied

to force another extra frame. Carmen Tyson-Thomas missed a layup

with one second left that could have won it for the Orange.

”We’ve been gutting it out lately, but we haven’t been making

the shots when we need to. The other team seems to make every shot

when they need to,” said Villanova coach Harry Perretta. ”In this

game, too, they made every shot they needed to make in the first

overtime to get a tie. Lucky for us, they missed that last

shot.”

The Wildcats snapped their cold streak in the final extra frame,

opening with an 8-2 run to pull away for good.

”We were just meant to win today. I don’t know why, but we

were.” said Perretta.

Both teams shot 36 percent, with Syracuse making 30 of 82 shots

and Villanova 28 of 77, but the Wildcats knocked down 11 3-pointers

compared to just five for the Orange.

Kayla Alexander and Tyson-Thomas each scored 22 points and

grabbed 11 rebounds for Syracuse in the losing effort.

”A loss is always going to be heartbreaking. No one likes to

lose. It’s pretty devastating.” said Tyson-Thomas.

Tyson-Thomas scored the final points of regulation and the first

overtime for Syracuse, while Alexander scored the Orange’s final

five points of the second overtime.

But Roberts answered Alexander’s spurt with her sixth 3-pointer

of the night to send the game into the final overtime.

Roberts hit two free throws to open the third overtime, sparking

Villanova’s 8-2 run that gave the Wildcats a 77-72 advantage with

1:24 left.

Alexander then converted a three-point play and Tyson-Thomas

answered a Sweeney jumper with a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to

77-75. But Sweeney’s shot proved to be the game winner, as neither

team scored over the final minute.

”I was just trying to be smart. I had four fouls. I wanted to

help my team as much as I could. This is good for our morale going

into the Big East tournament.” said Sweeney.

Syracuse’s Rachel Coffey missed two potential game-winning

3-pointers in the final 10 seconds as Villanova held on.

”We had a shot to win the game. It was a tough one. We’re going

to let this thing go and get ready for Louisville on Monday,” said

Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman. ”We have to come out ready to

play. You’ve got to show up.”