Women’s basketball drops first game to Butler, rebounds with blowout victory over Xavier



Katy Funabashi

After a long weekend on the road, the women’s basketball team advanced to 10-8 overall and 5-2 in the Big East after losing to the Butler Bulldogs last Friday then crushing the Xavier Musketeers two days later. 

The Wildcats’ 54-34 victory against Xavier brought Villanova to a 4-0 total record against Brian Neal and his Musketeers basketball team. 

Last Friday, the Wildcats faced Butler in Indianapolis. Prior to this meeting, Villanova had won both of the ‘Cats versus ‘Dogs matchups. 

The 72-58 loss at Butler shattered the Wildcats’ six-game winning streak, but the game was not a blow out by any means. 

The Bulldogs and Wildcats were tied 37-37 when the halftime buzzer rang, one of the six times the teams were tied during this heated match. 

Fans at the Hinkle Fieldhouse spent over four minutes bouncing nervously on their toes, as the ’Cats and Bulldogs were tied for an extended period of the first half. Though the game was intense, both teams played cleanly, with the Bulldogs only fouling the Wildcats twice throughout the game. 

This back-and-forth game allowed Villanova to lead for 17:04, leaving Butler to have the upper hand for only 58 seconds longer at 18:02. 

Senior center Emily Leer scored 14 points for the Wildcats, while junior guard Caroline Coyer scored 11 points, all in the first half. Taylor Holeman, Villanova’s senior forward, tallied eight. 

Twenty-three of Villanova’s points were scored by non-starters, versus the nine points scored from Butler’s bench, proving Villanova’s impressive depth. Butler had two players score over 20 points each in last Friday’s game.

Following their first ever loss to the Bulldogs, the Wildcats left Indiana and continued their Midwest weekend journey to meet Xavier while the rest of Villanova’s students were at home avoiding the icy, rainy Sunday weather.

After a decent first half in Cincinnati, with both teams having fairly long scoring runs, the Wildcats’ second-half groove kicked in, and they wound up leaving the Xavier Musketeers 20 points behind. 

Though the Wildcats have not had such a low scoring game since the first week of September, the team also has not had this large of a score difference since defeating Kutztown, 84-42, in November.

Villanova led at halftime, and the Wildcats capitalized on their halftime adrenaline rush by having a 14-2 run. 

Xavier was never able to quite catch up, especially with Leer scoring 13 points for Villanova in the second half alone. 

Junior forward Kavunaa Edwards started the game off on a high note by scoring the Wildcats’ first six points and wound up setting a new career-high record of 14 points. She also had six rebounds and two steals.

Coyer had a career high of 11 rebounds against the Musketeers. She also tied her career-high for steals with four. 

Only one player from Xavier, sophomore forward Leah Schaefer, scored over nine points.

The Musketeers, who failed to score a three pointer during the game, are now 12-7 overall and 4-4 in the Big East. 

Over 1400 fans were in attendance during Sunday’s game, but this crowd did not faze or distract the Wildcats from their ultimate goal.

The Wildcats’ free throw shooting improved significantly in the second half, with Villanova making only 50 percent of their shots in the first half and improving to 100 percent in the second. 

Villanova has now won all four of their meetings with Xavier and improve their road record this season to 3-4 following the victory. 

The Wildcats will return home to face Seton Hall today at 7 pm in the Pavilion.  

The Pirates currently hold sole possession of the top ranking in the conference with an impressive overall record of 17-2 and 6-1 mark in the Big East.

On Sunday, St. John’s will make the short trip from New York to play the Wildcats in the Pavilion in a classic Big East matchup.  

The Red Storm are one of three teams tied for third place in the conference, so this will be a crucial two-game stretch for Villanova.