Women’s basketball stays hot against Butler on Star Wars night

Mitchell Berrang

After a huge road victory against Georgetown, Villanova looked to continue its hot streak on Friday night hosting Butler in the Pavilion. It was a “Star Wars” themed night for the fans, but the real war happened on the court. After having lost on the road to Butler a month ago, Villanova wanted to avoid a season sweep and did so with a 63-52 victory.

Unfortunately, Villanova was without junior forward Kevunaa Edwards and senior forward Taylor Holeman. Edwards was out due a lingering injury, while Holeman was inactive due to an untimely illness.

Nonetheless, Villanova had vengeance on its mind and jumped out to an early 6 – 0 lead. Villanova’s lead remained mostly intact throughout the first half, although Butler would not go away easily. When the first timeout was taken at the 11:45 minute mark, Butler fought back to cut the six point deficit in half, yet Villanova still held the 12 – 9 lead.

Scoring really picked up in the latter part of the first half. Villanova and Butler, took turns scoring with seemingly every shot falling for each respective team until the halftime buzzer sounded, and Villanova led, 31-28.Emily Leer led the Wildcats with 10 points, while Katherine Coyer netted seven points in the half.

The first half’s lead can be attributed to Villanova’s tenacious defense. In the half, Butler did outrebound Villanova by five boards, but Villanova’s defensive pressure proved to be too much for Butler to handle. The Wildcats caused eight Butler turnovers, five of which came on steals, leading to nine points. In fact, Butler did not score a single point off of turnovers in the first half, and Villanova only registered three turnovers.

The other decisive factor that strongly helped Villanova in the first half was the three-ball. Villanova was 6-of-14 beyond the arc in the first half, with freshman guard Alex Louin going 2-for-2 from long range. Meanwhile, Butler was only 3-of-9 from beyond the line.

Villanova continued its momentum in the second half, thanks in large part to Caroline Coyer, who scored 11 of the Wildcats’ first 13 points. Coyer deservingly played all 20 minutes of the second-half and scorched the net for 16 points in the half alone. In the half, Coyer went 6-8 from the field, including 3-4 from 3-point territory and 1-2 at the foul line.

At the 11:36 minute mark, Villanova pushed the lead to five points, 44-39. However, Butler cut the lead to 45-43 at the 7:48 minute mark. That is when Villanova began their 11 – 4 scoring run that took the air out of Butler’s comeback efforts. This notable scoring run was led by tactical ball movement, which setup an almost automatic 3-pointer by Emily Leer. Leer’s shot was followed by a five point splash from none other than Caroline Coyer; whose sister, Katherine Coyer, delivered a dagger from beyond the arch to push Villanova’s lead to 56 – 47 with 3:32 left.

Butler did cut the game to within six points 56 – 50, but it wasn’t enough. A Leer layup pushed Villanova’s lead back to eight points, 58-50. After Butler poorly executed an offensive possession, it was forced to begin fouling Villanova. Leer and Alex Louin both converted two points each from the charity strike, while Lauren Burford contributed one point from the line in the closing minutes. These successful efforts from the free-throw line solidified Villanova’s win.

Junior guard Caroline Coyer finished the game with a team-high 21 points, tied the team-high of five rebounds, and recorded two assists on the night. Leer registered 17 points and five rebounds. Katherine Coyer nearly doubled her season average with 11 points.

As a team the Wildcats shot collectively better than the Bulldogs from the field (42.0 percent), three point line (40.7 percent), and foul line (66.7 percent). Butler did dominate the glass, 38-28, but Villanova’s 11 made three-pointers supersede the rebounding discrepancy. This pivotal win moves Villanova to an overall record of (15 – 10) and a Big East record of (9 – 4), it remains in a comfortable third place position among the Big East conference.stays