Courtney Mix thought her 18th-ranked Villanova team could some day defeat perennial women's basketball juggernaut and Big East rival Connecticut.
To actually accomplish the feat - recording a stunning 52-48 victory over the Huskies on Tuesday in the Big East Conference championship game - will take some getting use to for the Wildcats.
“They're an amazing team every year,” said Mix, reached by telephone, after scoring eight points in the upset win that ended top-ranked Connecticut's Division I record winning streak at 70 games. “They're always so big, so strong and so athletic. They're always so good every year.”
Mix, a 2000 Central Catholic graduate, is a starting guard for Villanova. She scored the go-ahead points for the Wildcats late in the second half against the No. 1-ranked team in the country. The 20-year-old Toledoan put Villanova in front 38-36 when she converted on a 3-point play with 4:33 remaining in the game.
The Wildcats, who play at a much slower pace than the Huskies, never relinquished the lead the rest of the way. They were successful with a game plan of running down the shot clock to the final seconds of each possession before attempting a shot.
“It's a huge win for the school and our program,” Mix said. “This is awesome.”
The junior finance major had never experienced a victory over Connecticut during her three-year career. Among those present at the Rutgers Athletic Center to witness the shocking outcome were Mix's father, Steve, and siblings, Stephanie and Darrick.
“We were definitely outnumbered by the Connecticut fans,” Courtney Mix said. “But there were a lot of neutral fans that got more involved in cheering [for us] late in the game.”
Mix admits she slept for only a couple hours the night after the game. However, she wasn't the only Wildcat who had a difficult time falling to sleep right after creating one of the biggest sports stories of the year.
Many of the players were awakened early yesterday morning to speak with the media or friends and family about the game.
“We're just excited right now,” Mix said. “We went out and played as hard as we could and said let's see what happens.”
Villanova hopes to take the momentum from the victory into the NCAA tournament that commences next week.
COLLEGE OF THE OZARKS 72, SIENA HEIGHTS 69
POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. - The sixth-seeded Saints (28-8) fell to unranked College of the Ozarks (13-15), the tournament host school, in the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Championship.
Siena Heights was outscored at the foul line 22-14.
Jason Rennie and Steve Biggs led the Saints with 12 points, while Lloyd Cowles added 11.