Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
No. 22 Syracuse (16-3, 4-2) lost 64-59 to No. 25 Villanova (16-3, 5-1) on Saturday. Kayla Alexander's record breaking performance was not enough to overcome the 3-point shooting by the Wildcats.
The ACC-bound Syracuse coaches and athletes will probably not miss the trips to the Philadelphia area. On the same day, the Syracuse men's basketball lost to Villanova 75-71 in overtime, the women lost 64-59.
In the day game, it was Villanova's Ryan Arcidiacono, who hit a late three to force OT in the Wells Fargo Center. About thirty minutes away, the Syracuse women had the chance to turn the tables on VU in The Pavillion. SU's Elashier Hall had the ball at the top of the key with twenty seconds left and the Orange down three. But lightning would not strike twice. Hall's three pointer was off the mark.
Syracuse's first loss of the year came back on December 2. The Temple Owls shocked the Orange 74-67 in Philadephia.
Villanova's outside shooting was on point from the start. The Cats shot 6-9 from three in the first half. Syracuse responded with an 18-8 run in the second half to erase a five point halftime deficit.
But in the final minutes of the game, Syracuse's offense went cold. The Orange only scored two field goals in the final eight minutes of play. Villanova came into the game allowing 49.5 points per game, sixth best in the country. The team was very successful at limiting Kayla Alexander, SU's best scoring option.
Alexander converted a layup midway into the first half to tie Nicole Michael's (2007-2010) school record. She broke the record at the 1:03 mark with an offensive put-back. The senior finished with only 6 points in 25 minutes.She credits her teammates for her career success. "They're the ones who are always looking for me, getting me the ball," she said Thursday. "All of this wouldn't be happening if it weren't for my teammates and the coaching staff."
Villanova's Rachel Roberts led all scorers with 26 points on 9-16 shooting. The guard did not play in her team's loss to Providence on Wednesday due to illness.
Hall led Syracuse in scoring and rebounding. The senior guard had 17 points and nine boards. The Orange return home to face Seton Hall Wednesday night at 7.