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Big 5 Roundup: St. Joe's WBB stunned by Fordham, sees NCAA hopes take hit

02/28/2024, 10:30pm EST
By Jake Adams

Jake Adams (@jakeadams520)

St. Joseph's women's basketball's hopes of making the NCAA Tournament in a few weeks took a big hit Wednesday night.

Atlantic 10 Conference rival and sub-.500 team Fordham pulled off a sizable upset at Hagan Arena, knocking off the Hawks 62-57 and dampening St. Joe's potential at-large hopes.

ESPN's Charlie Creme had SJU in his "next four out" as of Tuesday, along with neighbor Villanova. That's likely to change now after the second loss in three games for the Hawks (25-4, 14-3 A-10), who also slipped into a three-way tie for second in the conference, a game behind Richmond (25-5, 15-2) with one regular-season game left before the A-10 Tournament.

Mackenzie Smith led St. Joseph's with 24 points and six rebounds in a stunning upset at the hands of Fordham on Wednesday. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL file)

The Hawks held a 45-44 lead after three quarters and boosted it to 50-44 with 7:29 to play. But the Rams (12-15, 7-9) rallied, starting with a Taylor Donaldson fast-break 3-pointer. Donaldson gave Fordham its first lead of the frame with another trey with 31 seconds left, and SJU went 0 for 2 on its next two possessions. 

Mackenzie Smith led the Hawks with 24 points and six rebounds, but the team turned the ball over 17 times and shot just 4 of 18 (22.2%) from range. Donaldson scored 18 points for the Rams, and her two clutch 3s were her only makes from distance on nine attempts.

St. Joe's closes the regular season Saturday on the road against Duquesne.


Kaitlyn Orihel had 15 points in Villanova's loss Wednesday at No. 10 UConn. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL file)

Villanova WBB handled by No. 10 UConn

St. Joe's wasn't the only Big 5 team to see its March Madness chances suffer Wednesday night.

No. 10 UConn women's basketball routed visiting Villanova 67-46 to hand the Wildcats (17-11, 10-7 Big East) their third loss in four games. Nova was also sitting in the "next four out" bucket in ESPN's latest bracketology. One regular-season game remains, at home vs. DePaul on Sunday, before the Big East Tournament in Connecticut.

Kaitlyn Orihel led Villanova with 15 points, five rebounds and three assists off the bench, but the team was held to just 31% shooting (18 of 58). Paige Bueckers shredded Nova's defense for 31 points on 11-of-15 shooting (she was 7 of 7 at the foul line). Aaliyah Edwards had a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Huskies (25-5, 17-0).

The Wildcats currently sit tied for fifth in the conference standings and already have a bye to the tournament quarterfinals.



Temple MBB wins third straight

Temple men's basketball had little trouble on the road Wednesday, blowing out Rice 65-43. It's the third straight win for Temple, which follows a 10-game losing streak that extended back to mid-January.

Temple (10-17, 3-11 American Athletic Conference) held Rice to just 26% shooting (14 of 54). Hysier Miller led TU with 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting (4 of 7 from 3) and was the only player on the team in double figures. Max Fiedler led Rice (11-17, 5-10) with 12 points and nine boards.


Jimmy Clark III, Duquesne MBB rally to beat La Salle

Duquesne men's basketball rallied in the second half to turn a three-point halftime deficit into a comfortable 75-63 victory over La Salle.

Jimmy Clark III scored 22 points (9 of 14 shooting) and dished out eight assists, both game highs, to lead the Dukes to an important Atlantic 10 Conference victory. Duquesne (17-11, 7-8) is fighting to stay in the Top 9 in the conference to earn a first-round bye in the upcoming A-10 Tournament at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Daeshon Shepherd led the Explorers (14-15, 5-11) with 17 points, seven rebounds and three steals. La Salle shot just 30.3% (10 of 33) in the second half. Duquesne shot 50% (30 of 6) in the game and was 7 of 18 (38.9%) from 3-point territory.


Saint Louis WBB routs La Salle

Julia Martinez recorded an efficient triple-double of 10 points, 10 assists and 11 rebounds in just 27 minutes to lead Saint Louis in a rout of La Salle, 78-57. 

Martinez shot 5 of 8 from the field as five Billikens (13-17, 8-9 A-10) reached double figures, led by Peyton Kennedy. The Explorers (7-21, 4-13) had four in double digits, led by Tiara Bolden's 13 points and eight boards.

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