On a day largely missing surprises, leave it to the always entertaining Harry Perretta to steal the show.
Villanova, the same Villanova with the 3-13 conference record surprised Providence in a captivating 52-50 overtime victory. In the other games, the bracket held to form, with Syracuse, West Virginia and Pitt all advancing. For summaries of the action, read on.
Game #1: Pittsburgh 63, South Florida 60
Pitt threatened to turn it into a laugher at the beginning, especially when USF star Andrea Smith went down with injury early in the game. Pitt jumped to a 12 point halftime lead, before USF made it a game down the stretch. In the end the hot shooting of Pitt (66% 2nd half) held off the Bulls and Pitt advanced to an afternoon date with #5 Marquette.
Leading Scorers: USF - Andrell Smith and Kaneisha Saunders (17 each), Pitt - Janeia Sims (17)
MVP - Sims, Pitt - 17 pts incl 2-3 from 3 pt, 4 assists, 5 steals
Game #2: Syracuse 74, Seton Hall 44
No surprise here, and the game can be summarized by Seton Hall Coach Anne Donovan's opening statement post-game, "A long season has come to an end." That was also her whole statement. Syracuse was too big and strong, and Kayla Alexander and Iasia Hemingway dominated Seton Hall. Syracuse moves on to a potentially brutal game vs Georgetown.
Leading Scorers: SH - Kashmere Joseph, Jasmne Crew, and Brittany Morris (8 each). Syracuse Iasia Hemingway (17) and Kayla Alexander (16)
MVP: Hemingway, Syracuse. Donovan said so point blank postgame, so who am I to argue? 17 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists confirms it.
Game #3: West Virginia 66, Cincinnati 41
What does it say about the Big East that the #10 seed in the conference tourney is also #22 in the country? Game went as you would expect, with WV opening leads, trying to rest some starters in case they have to play 5 games in 5 days, Cincinnati would make a run, with the crowd cheering on former UConn assistant coach Jamelle Elliott, then WV would pull away again. Just too much talent for Cincinnati at this point. Sarah Miles was fantastic, as was Liz Repella, and this one was over by halftime. Next game for WV is a rematch of their regular season finale win over St. Johns. THAT one should be fun.
Leading Scorers: Cincinnati - Bjonee Reaves (11). West Virginia - Asya Bussie (16), Repella (15)
MVP: Miles, West Virginia. 8 points, 10 assists, 2 turnovers
Game #4: Villanova 52, Providence 50 (OT)
It was typical Villanova, slow the pace run their sets and cuts, and limit the possessions of the opponent. Providence came out playing their own game, trying to push the pace, and opened up a 7 point halftime lead. In the second half, both teams had numerous chances to put the other way but could not hit. Villanova shot 32% in the second half, Providence 21%. Laura Sweeney finally started to free up for Nova, and they found her as she led them back, finishing with a game high 21. Providence will not be happy when they review video of how their season ended. Next up for the Cats, Louisville.
Leading Scorers: Providence - Mi-Khida Hankins (15). Villanova- Sweeney (21)
MVP: Sweeney, Villanova. 21 points, 9 rebounds. 7-12 from the floor. Easily the difference maker.