Women’s basketball suffers first conference loss to Villanova

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Fresh off a win over Georgetown just two days earlier, the DePaul women hosted Villanova and were on the hunt to extend their four-game win streak to kick off Big East conference play. The Wildcats, on the other hand, had other plans.

The No. 24 Blue Demons (12-6, 4-1) were outclassed by the Wildcats (10-6, 4-2) from the opening tipoff and fell 64-60 at McGrath-Phillips Arena.

“Villanova’s a really good basketball team and they always are,” Coach Doug Bruno said. “This is the kind of game we have to play possession-by-possession basketball and they out [possessed] us.”

DePaul started out cold allowing Villanova to score the first five points of the game before Jessica January scored the first points of the game for the Blue Demons. The Wildcats held on to the lead the entirety of the first half until January knocked down a jumper to give DePaul a brief lead, but it was gone shortly after and Villanova went into halftime up 28-27.

Then, the Caroline Coyer show started.

The senior guard from Oak Hill, Va. took over in the second half scoring 18 points after scoring just seven in the opening two quarters. Coyer, at one point, scored 12 straight points for the Wildcats in the third quarter then had another hot streak of six straight in the fourth.

“I don’t know, other than sending a second player at her and trying to limit her touches,  (how else to stop her),” Bruno said. “That’s just how good of a player she is…we didn’t have a great answer for her.”

DePaul really struggled moving the ball throughout the game and it was evident in the low scoring affair. Villanova did a great job forcing tough looks and pressuring DePaul’s players on almost every possession.

“On the offensive side of the ball, we really struggled scoring today for a good scoring team,” Bruno said. “I don’t think we ever got any sort of flow going offensively.”

On the day Megan Podkowa received a commemorative ball to celebrate her scoring her 1,000th point as a Blue Demon, her productivity fell flat. She finished with just four points and six rebounds in a game where DePaul needed to dominate the paint to win.

“We got the ball into one of our most potent scorers and she didn’t have exactly (a good game),” Bruno said. “It really comes down to us scoring the ball better.”

Bruno said how difficult it was for his team to move the ball into the paint and it’s a big reason why Podkowa, Jacqui Grant and Mart’e Grays struggled today.

“We’ve had a pretty successful formula playing Villanova in the Big East. It’s not a formula that gives us a lot of error, it’s a tight formula, but the formula…has been pretty good,” Bruno said. “We used the formula today and it turned into a possession-by-possession game, they out possession-ed us.”