Coming off a 12-point comeback victory over Providence on Sunday which included 20-point performances from Lauren Park-Lane and Mya Jackson, the Pirates sought to go above .500 in Big East play on Wednesday with a win over Villanova.
The Pirates got off to a hot start, going ahead by as many as 10 points with one-minute left in the first quarter. However, the defense allowed the Wildcats to make a big run that propelled them ahead of the Pirates and saw them take a 40-33 lead into half time.
Early in the second half, the Pirates went on a swift 9-0 scoring run to regain the lead, but a three-point basket from the Wildcats put them ahead by one once again. Villanova did not relinquish their lead in the game after that.
The Pirates posted a late 8-0 run led by Alexia Allesch and Mississippi State-transfer Andra Espinoza-Hunter but ultimately fell short in a 78-71 loss at the Walsh Gymnasium.
Park-Lane continued her early-season tear with 27 points along with Desiree Elmore’s 15 and Espinoza-Hunter’s 10. These three alone unfortunately could not negate Villanova’s near-50% shooting percentage and +13 rebound differential.
“We collapsed defensively, and we looked for Lauren Park-Lane to bail us out every second,” head coach Anthony Bozzella said. “This is a joke. We have to play a lot better and we have to play a lot more together. We’re not sharing the ball, we’re not playing together. 10 assists we had, they had 21. That’s terrible.”
It is time for the Pirates to rely on a lot more than just their sophomore guard to drop over 20 points per game in order to get them over the hump and be a competitive team in Big East play. If they cannot find other sources of production, it will be a long year for the Pirates.
Brendan Balsamo can be reach at email@example.com. Find him on Twitter @brenbal.