The women's basketball team at Villanova did not reach victory No. 8 last season until the Wildcats' final game in early March.

This time around, coach Harry Perretta's bunch is well ahead of that woeful 8-21 finish. Villanova easily earned its eighth win last night, 75-51, over Massachusetts in a nonconference game at the Pavilion.

"I can't believe it's before Christmas, and we already tied last year's win total, so it's a great feeling," Lisa Karcic said after scoring 18 points.

The Wildcats (8-2) got the job done with another torrent of three-pointers, connecting on 15 of 36. That was three short of the school record, which they tied last month against South Alabama in San Francisco's tournament. The NCAA record is 21.

They also made a nice recovery from Saturday's 67-52 loss to Atlantic Ten favorite George Washington.

Stacie Witman led Villanova with 21 points as she and Karcic made four treys each. Laura Kurz, a transfer from Duke and former Germantown Academy star, scored 13 points. Maria Getty also scored in double figures with 11.

The Wildcats lead the country in three-pointers made, averaging 10.6 per game. They hit 10 in the first half on the way to a 41-27 lead.

Kate Mills, a graduate of Ursuline Academy in Wilmington, was the only player to score in double figures for Massachusetts (4-6), collecting 18 points.

"We just played well today. We bounced back,'' Perretta said. "I was interested in seeing how we were going to bounce back after getting beat pretty badly by GW.''

He added: "We also passed the ball very well today. I thought we defended better. I thought we did a lot of things better. I thought we had a lot more energy than we did before. I'm just happy for the kids."

Villanova also took care of the basketball, committing only six turnovers against 15 by the Minutewomen.

Massachusetts has three other local players: Archbishop Wood's Pam Rosanio, Cardinal O'Hara's Kim Benton, and Glassboro High's Sakera Young.

Rosanio struggled, shooting 3 for 13 and scoring nine points. Young scored eight.

"Witman's a nice player," Massachusetts coach Marnie Dacko said. "I thought we were going to have a terrible time defending them.

Men's games

Southern Illinois 71, St. Mary's 56 -

Bryan Mullins scored 22 points, including nine down the stretch, and the Salukis (4-3) used a tight defense to send the No. 24 Gaels (7-1) to their first loss in Carbondale, Ill.

Southern Illinois broke a three-game losing streak that had knocked it out of the national rankings.

Lincoln 104, Briarcliffe 80 -

Dante Blanton-Holcombe tied his career high with 32 points as the Lions (1-9) beat the Seahawks (2-5) in West Hempstead, N.Y.