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Villanova Beats St. Francis, Pa., 51-36

March 24, 2003

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ Villanova took advantage of two scoring droughts by St. Francis, Pa., to pull away and beat the Red Flash 51-36 in the first round of the Mideast Regional on Sunday night.

Katie Davis scored 15 points and Trish Juhline had 12 for the second-seeded Wildcats, who haven’t played since March 11 when they ended Connecticut’s 70-game winning streak by winning the Big East tournament championship game.

Villanova (26-5), playing in Norman for the second straight year, advances to play Tuesday night against either No. 7 seed George Washington or 10th-seeded Oklahoma.

St. Francis (23-8) is 0-7 in the NCAA tournament.

The Red Flash trailed 37-34 with 7:51 remaining after two free throws by Carlin Chesick, who scored 15. But they didn’t score again until the final minute, by which time Villanova had taken a 49-34 lead.

The Wildcats lost to Oklahoma in the second round a year ago, but now they’re expected to make it to the round of 16 for the first time in their seven NCAA appearances.

It took them a while to get going.

St. Francis made nine of its first 11 shots and scored on seven straight possessions to take a 21-8 lead with 11:23 left in the half. Villanova was 3-of-10 from the field at that point.

But when Nicole Druckenmiller made a 3-pointer at the 10:53 mark, it started a 13-0 run that tied the score at 21. St. Francis missed 12 shots and turned it over twice during the 10-minute run before Beth Swink finally scored inside with 1:05 remaining. The teams were tied at 23 at halftime.

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