Big East Women’s Notebook

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Cincinnati, Pittsburgh nearly snap streaks

It must have been heartbreaking Tuesday for fans of either Cincinnati or Pittsburgh women’s basketball. Cincinnati dropped to 0-7 after its tight 54-52 loss at Georgetown Tuesday night, and Pittsburgh also fell to 0-7 after losing to DePaul, 57-55. Cincinnati was trounced by Connecticut, 67-31, in its previous game and will likely fall to 0-8 when it travels to South Bend, Ind. to face No. 2 Notre Dame Saturday. Pittsburgh hosts South Florida Sunday in hopes of winning its first Big East game since Feb. 15, 2011.

No. 2 Notre Dame takes care of business at Tennessee

Notre Dame had to deal with a slight interruption in its Big East schedule when it squared off with No. 9 Tennessee, but it managed to play through and pull off a 77-67 win. Senior guard Skylar Diggins led the way for the Irish, netting 33 points, as the team improved to 18-1 overall. The Lady Vols cut a 19-point deficit to five with 3:54 left, but Notre Dame maintained its composure, and Diggins kept scoring, sealing the victory.

Providence stuns No. 25 Villanova

The Friars entered last Wednesday’s game against the Wildcats 0-4 in Big East play, and the Wildcats boasted a perfect 4-0 record. Everything on paper indicated an easy victory for Villanova, but Providence had other plans when it stunned the No. 25 Wildcats in overtime, 65-60.

Symone Roberts’ 20 points led Providence, while Nova’s Lauren Burford kept pace with 20. The major statistical discrepancy was in rebounding; the Friars pulled down 57 rebounds (24 offensive) and limited the Wildcats to just 32 boards (seven offensive). Villanova led 29-10 at halftime but was held scoreless the first eight minutes of the second frame. Since that game, Providence was crushed by Notre Dame, and Villanova picked up a win against Syracuse before falling to UConn Tuesday night.

Player of the Week: Antonita Slaughter, Louisville (Jr/G)

Slaughter enjoyed a prosperous week in which she led the Cardinals to victory against Marquette and then St. John’s. Her 14 points and seven rebounds were critical to Louisville’s one-point victory over Marquette. Slaughter put up 22 points and seven rebounds and shot 10-for-11 from the foul line in the 57-54 win against the Red Storm. This was Slaughter’s first career conference Player of the Week nod and the first for Louisville this season. Slaughter ranks seventh in the Big East in three-point field goal percentage (35.9 percent) and is averaging 9.1 points per game.

Game of the Week: DePaul at Marquette, Saturday at 7 p.m.

This game has significance for both teams. Marquette, with a mediocre 2-5 record, hopes to get back on the right track after suffering a heartbreaking, last-second loss to Louisville, followed by a miserable offensive performance in a defeat at USF. The Golden Eagles cannot dig themselves into too large of a hole in the standings, especially with games against powerhouses UConn and Notre Dame coming up next month. If Marquette wants to remain in the hunt, it will need to start taking down teams in the top third, and it starts with 5-2 DePaul.

DePaul nearly lost to 0-7 Pittsburgh Tuesday night, and it cannot afford to allow games to get that uncomfortable if it wishes to crack the national rankings. The Blue Demons are currently receiving votes for the top 25 but will have to use their sharp three-point shooting (best in the league) and perimeter defense to convince more writers and coaches that they deserve a spot in the top 25.

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