HARTFORD, Conn. -- Kayla Alexander matched her career high with 34 points, and No. 24 Syracuse withstood a rally to beat Villanova 61-56 Sunday in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament.
The Orange (24-6) led by as many as 15 in the second half, before Villanova came storming back, cutting the lead to two with 2 minutes left.
The Wildcats had won five of the last six meetings between the two schools, including a triple-overtime thriller on March 2. But they had to play this one without leading scorer Laura Sweeney, who suffered a concussion in the Wildcats' second-round win over Georgetown.
Rachel Roberts and Taylor Holeman each had 14 points for Villanova (21-10).
The Wildcats, who made a record 17 shots from behind the arc against Georgetown, converted nine Sunday.
Alexander also pulled down 15 rebounds for the Orange, who will take on Connecticut in the semifinals on Monday night.