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Villanova tops No. 22 Syracuse women 77-75, 3 OTs

AP - Sports

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- Laura Sweeney scored a season-high 29 points and Rachel Roberts added 20 to help Villanova upset No. 22 Syracuse 77-75 in triple overtime Saturday.

Devon Kane, who hit a game-tying layup at the end of regulation, added 10 points for Villanova (19-6, 8-7) in just the second three-overtime game in Big East regular-season history.

The first was a triple-overtime thriller that saw Georgetown beat Miami on Feb. 9, 1993.

Villanova jumped ahead 58-53 in the first overtime but went scoreless over the final 3 minutes as Syracuse (22-6, 10-5) rallied to force another extra frame. Carmen Tyson-Thomas missed a layup with one second left that could have won it for the Orange.

''We've been gutting it out lately, but we haven't been making the shots when we need to. The other team seems to make every shot when they need to,'' said Villanova coach Harry Perretta. ''In this game, too, they made every shot they needed to make in the first overtime to get a tie. Lucky for us, they missed that last shot.''

The Wildcats snapped their cold streak in the final extra frame, opening with an 8-2 run to pull away for good.

''We were just meant to win today. I don't know why, but we were.'' said Perretta.

Both teams shot 36 percent, with Syracuse making 30 of 82 shots and Villanova 28 of 77, but the Wildcats knocked down 11 3-pointers compared to just five for the Orange.

Kayla Alexander and Tyson-Thomas each scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Syracuse in the losing effort.

''A loss is always going to be heartbreaking. No one likes to lose. It's pretty devastating.'' said Tyson-Thomas.

Tyson-Thomas scored the final points of regulation and the first overtime for Syracuse, while Alexander scored the Orange's final five points of the second overtime.

But Roberts answered Alexander's spurt with her sixth 3-pointer of the night to send the game into the final overtime.

Roberts hit two free throws to open the third overtime, sparking Villanova's 8-2 run that gave the Wildcats a 77-72 advantage with 1:24 left.

Alexander then converted a three-point play and Tyson-Thomas answered a Sweeney jumper with a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 77-75. But Sweeney's shot proved to be the game winner, as neither team scored over the final minute.

''I was just trying to be smart. I had four fouls. I wanted to help my team as much as I could. This is good for our morale going into the Big East tournament.'' said Sweeney.

Syracuse's Rachel Coffey missed two potential game-winning 3-pointers in the final 10 seconds as Villanova held on.

''We had a shot to win the game. It was a tough one. We're going to let this thing go and get ready for Louisville on Monday,'' said Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman. ''We have to come out ready to play. You've got to show up.''

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