Sunday, January 10, 2016

Coyer's 25 points pushes Villanova past No. 24 DePaul, 64-60

                                           Photo Credit: Geno Green

With one lead change after another in the third quarter, Villanova's leading scorer Caroline Coyer emerged with her brisk shooting.

18 of Coyer's game-high 25 points came in the second half as the Villanova Wildcats (10-6, 4-2 BIG EAST) knocked off the No. 24 DePaul Blue Demons (12-6, 4-1 BIG EAST), 64-60 at McGrath-Phillips Arena in Chicago, Ill on Sunday afternoon.

Even with all of the production on offense, the play which lifted the Wildcats turned out to be an assist from Coyer to a cutting Samantha Wilkes for a layup with 1:25 left in the game to increase their lead to 57-50 on the Blue Demons.

Coyer possessed the ball and looked to make a move towards the rim, but a double team occurred and knew a split-second decision needed to be made.

"We went over that type of play in the last few days of practice and [doubling up] is something that a lot of teams have been doing this year," Coyer said. 

"We haven't executed that well and it was like deja vu when the play happened and we knew how to this. Once we did it and [Samantha] drove to the basket and scored, it was the epitome of how our team has come together."

DePaul coach Doug Bruno came into the game with an aggressive game plan geared towards Coyer, but shot after shot kept draining through the bucket.

"We just didn't have an answer for Coyer," Bruno said. "Our defensive game plan was really solid. I know it doesn't look like that when one player goes off like she did."

At 10-6 overall and 4-2 in conference play, Villanova coach Harry Perretta recognized the significance of the win against a nationally-ranked DePaul team.

"The win is great because it puts us back in the [conference] race," Perretta said. "If we lost this game, then we would have been in trouble at 9-7, but now we are 10-6, with a top 25 win under our belt."

Villanova's Alex Louin added 13 points, on 4-of-8 shooting in a team-high 37 minutes, while DePaul's Chanise Jenkins led the team with 19, on 6-of-21 from the field.

Game Recap:

Villanova opened the game on a 7-2 run, highlighted by Louin scoring the first five. Its lead would increase to as many as eight using a series of baskets in the paint.

Behind 16-8, DePaul countered with a 6-0 run of its own behind four straight points from Ashton Millender.

Jordan Dillard added a layup in the closing seconds of the first quarter to give Villanova an 18-14 advantage over DePaul.

Villanova controlled the lead and tempo for the majority of the second quarter, but the end of the session saw DePaul's Jessica January deliver a layup to take the lead at 27-26.

Moments later, Louin countered with a jump shot with 22 seconds left and defensive contact surrounding her as the Wildcats went into halftime with a 28-27 lead on the Blue Demons.

The third quarter witnessed ten lead changes between the two teams as Coyer led Villanova's offense with eight points and clung to a 43-41 lead after 30 minutes.

Coyer realized the importance of maintaining the lead and not letting the game to continue to go back and forth.

"You know a team like DePaul can turn it on at any given point and next thing you know, you are down 15," Coyer said. "Our level of awareness was so high and we knew we were still in the game if we could sustain the nip and tuck exchange."

Despite a last-second rally from DePaul, it would get no closer than 63-60, on a three-point make from Jenkins with 10 seconds left.

Villanova added a late free throw make from Katherine Coyer and walked off the floor, back in the BIG EAST conference race and plenty to still play for in terms of a potential at-large bid to the Women's NCAA Tournament.

Looking Ahead:

Both teams return to action on Jan. 15, as Villanova hosts Seton Hall and DePaul heads on the road, to take on Butler. 

Each game tips off at 6 p.m. and can be seen on the BIG EAST Digital Network and FS1, respectively.

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Follow Geno Green on Twitter @GenoSportsguy.