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Villanova Suffers 67–46 Defeat to No. 10 UConn

Courtesy of Villanova Athletics
Junior guard Zanai Jones returned to the court, scoring 10 points, in Villanova’s 67–46 loss to UConn on Feb. 28.

After beating Villanova by 21 points on Jan. 21, UConn did it again on Wednesday night. 

The Wildcats traveled to Storrs, CT on Feb. 28 and left with a 67–46 loss to the No. 10 Huskies.

UConn (25–5, 17–0 Big East) is ranked first in the Big East, soundly defeating every team in the conference by 20 points or more. Following the loss, Villanova (17–11, 10–7 Big East) dropped to fifth in the Big East, its record tied with Marquette.

Junior guard Kaitlyn Orihel led the ‘Cats, contributing 15 points and five rebounds off the bench. Orihel was followed by junior guard Zanai Jones, who returned to the starting lineup after missing three games due to an upper body injury. Jones finished the night with 10 points and two rebounds.

The UConn defense successfully targeted junior guard and leading scorer Lucy Olsen, limiting her to six points and six rebounds on the night. Junior forward Christina Dalce also did not make her usual impact, recording two points and no rebounds in just six total minutes on the court.

The Huskies bombarded the ‘Cats to start the game, forcing four turnovers and building a 10–2 advantage in the opening five minutes.

Orihel then scored a pair of three-pointers in the span of a minute to put the ‘Cats back in it. Two Olsen free throws narrowed the deficit to just two points.

Villanova finished the first quarter behind 15–10.

UConn’s leading duo, redshirt junior guard Paige Bueckers and senior forward Aaliyah Edwards, helped maintain a double-digit lead for most of the second quarter. Bueckers finished the game with 31 points, surpassing Olsen as the Big East’s current highest scorer.

Jones scored all of her points on the night during the second quarter. Claiming 10 of Villanova’s 14 points in the period, Jones went 4–5 from the field and 2–2 from the foul line.

The Wildcats went into the locker room down 35–24.

The Huskies continued to pull away in the third quarter. A Bueckers three-pointer gave UConn its biggest lead yet, 42–26, with six minutes left in the third period.

Villanova worked to hold UConn back and headed into the last quarter behind by ten.

The ‘Cats attempted to stage a comeback early in the fourth quarter with a 7–2 run, driven primarily by Orihel. The spurt put them behind by seven with just under eight minutes left to play.

UConn responded by calling a timeout, then shutting Villanova down in the remaining time. The Huskies went on a 10–0 streak that put the ‘Cats far enough behind to seal the game.

The Wildcats will have just one more regular season game before moving onto the Big East Tournament on March 8 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT.

Villanova hosts DePaul (12–8, 4–13 Big East) at the Finn on Sunday, March 3. The game will be broadcast on FS1 at 5:00 p.m.

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Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis, Co-Sports Editor
Katie Lewis is a sophomore from Miami, FL in her first year as Co-Sports Editor in 2024. From covering games to writing features and profiles, she loves to find the story behind Villanova sports. Pursuing her enthusiasm for writing and journalism in her studies at Villanova, Katie is double-majoring in English and Communication with concentrations in Journalism and Writing & Rhetoric. When Katie isn’t at Holy Grounds working on her next article, she enjoys playing tennis with Villanova’s club team.
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