Villanova 54

(12-8, 2-5 Big East)

(5) Rutgers 63

(17-2, 7-0 Big East)

    2:00 PM ET, January 26, 2008

    1 2 T
    VILL 27 2754
    #5RUTG 33 3063

    Top Performers

    Villanova: L. Kurz 15 Pts, 7 Reb, 1 Ast

    Rutgers: E. Prince 19 Pts, 3 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl

    No. 5 Rutgers thwarts Villanova's rallies for another home win

    PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) -- Villanova coach Harry Perretta feels No. 5 Rutgers should occasionally take a page from the Wildcats' playbook and shoot more 3s.

    Epiphanny Prince scored 19 points and Rutgers used two threes to pull away late and win its 12th straight game with a 63-54 victory over Villanova on Saturday.

    "I think they should shoot more threes," said Perretta, whose team averages 26 shots from behind the arc per game. "That's basically how they broke the game open today.

    "We can take away their inside game because we can double. But their guards are so fast that it's difficult for us to guard both. I'm not telling them how they should play, but when a team like that shoots more threes, they force us to extend our defense and that's what they did late in the game."

    Scarlet Knights coach C. Vivian Stringer is happy with her team's balance on offense.

    "There are people who can do this and people who can do that," she said. "We're a team that can do this and that. So why wouldn't you do this and that?

    "They can only shoot threes. They execute. Their offense is a rhythm offense. If you can disrupt it, that's what causes the problem. It's difficult to do because they read so well. But they're not going to break you down. We can execute and get ourselves free for a shot, but we can also break you down."

    Which Rutgers showed by getting 34 points in the paint and shooting 5-for-11 from 3-point range.

    "We know our game goes from the inside-out," Prince said. "We try not to force up a lot of threes but if it's there, we'll take it."

    Kia Vaughn added 16 points and eight rebounds while Matee Ajavon scored 12 of her 14 points in the second half for the Scarlet Knights (17-2, 7-0 Big East), who won their 10th straight home game and 25th straight against an unranked opponent.

    But it wasn't easy.

    "Villanova does a great job," Stringer said. "No matter how much I love Harry personally, these games always give me a headache."

    Laura Kurz had 15 points, Stacie Witman 14 and Lisa Karcic 11 for the Wildcats (12-8, 2-5), who lost for the third time in four games, did not attempt a foul shot and got just one offensive rebound that was credited to the team. Rutgers held a 34-20 rebounding advantage.

    Trailing by six at halftime, the Wildcats took leads of 36-35 and 38-37 before Ajavon's 3-pointer forged the game's 10th and final lead change. Ajavon scored seven straight to give Rutgers a 44-38 advantage.

    "We expect that from her," Vaughn said. "With her being calm, everyone else feeds off her energy and her confidence. It was pretty much what she should have done and it came within the flow of the game."

    Villanova, which shot 10-for-20 from 3-point range, then got within three on four different occasions. With the score 52-49, Rutgers finally broke away when Ajavon and Prince sandwiched 3-pointers around an Essence Carson basket to make it 60-49 with 3:13 remaining.

    Rutgers shot 50.9 percent and Villanova was at 48.9, becoming the 27th straight Rutgers opponent to shoot below 50 percent.

    The Knights opened various leads between five and seven in the first half, but Villanova shot its way back into it as there were six lead changes and two ties. Prince's driving lay-up started an 8-0 run and Rutgers held a 33-27 advantage at halftime.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 54 63
    FG Made-Attempted 22-45 (.489) 28-55 (.509)
    3P Made-Attempted 10-20 (.500) 5-11 (.455)
    FT Made-Attempted 0-0 (.000) 2-8 (.250)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 10 (0/0) 5 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 3 11

    Game Leaders

    PointsL. Kurz 15E. Prince 19
    ReboundsL. Kurz 7K. Vaughn 8
    AssistsL. Karcic 3M. Ajavon 9
    StealsL. Karcic 3M. Ajavon 2

    2007-08 Season

    » Jan 26, 2008 @RUTG 63, VILL 54Recap | Box Score