The second half opened similarly to the first. Lafayette and Villanova missed consecutive shots. Villanova went nearly four minutes without a made field goal, their second such stretch in the game. The previous time, the Leopards were able to jump back in the game. This time, the Wildcats ran away with it.
Villanova's suffocating defense in the second half held Lafayette to only five second-half points en route to a 60-33 win at the Pavilion on Sunday afternoon.
The Leopards went the final 15:22 without a made field goal, and were scoreless in the final six minutes of play. When asked about the team defense in the second half, senior guard Devon Kane said, "In the first half we didn't communicate well enough so they got off too many open shots. We came out strong after halftime, rebounded better, and switched faster on ball-screens to force them into worse shots."
Sophomore forward Kavunaa Edwards posted her first-career double-double, collecting 14 rebounds along with 10 points. Kane set a career-best with eight assists, and sophomore guard Caroline Coyer led the team with 12 points. Four players recorded double-digit points. Junior forward Lauren Burford added 10 points and six rebounds.
Layups by sophomore guard Kendall Burton and Edwards opened things up to start the second half at 33-28, and a steal by Burford eventually led to a bucket by junior forward Emily Leer. Lafayette wouldn't score for the first four minutes in the second half. Burford added a beautiful step-back 3-pointer to increase the lead to six.
Thanks to a layup by Edwards and two by sophomore guard Katherine Coyer, they rattled off six points in under a minute to pull away from Lafayette for good. Nine Wildcats scored in the contest.
Both teams ran up and down the court multiple times before scoring. It took two and a half minutes before Maddie Peabody made a jumper to put the Leopards on the board first. By the first media timeout, it was still 2-0. The defenses were not suffocating, but shots were not falling for either side. The shooters came out cold, as if affected by the 30-degree weather. The teams opened 1-14 from the field.
Out of the timeout, Leopard center Danielle Fiacco made one of two free throws before Villanova finally got on the board with a 3-pointer from Devon Kane that tied the game at 3-all.
A dagger from Edwards gave 'Nova a 6-3 lead, and following a turnover and a missed shot, freshman forward Megan Quinn nailed a three to cap a 9-0 run for the Wildcats. Quinn would hit another three to make the score 12-5 heading into the under-12 media timeout. She had eight points within the first 10:00, outscoring Lafayette by herself to that point.
Sophomore guard Caroline Coyer came out firing after the break with two quick layups that momentarily gave the 'Cats a double-digit lead. Quinn played some solid face-up defense on centers taller and more experienced than her, and the Leopards committed multiple travels trying to post up on her.
Burford rattled five straight points and Katherine Coyer hit from deep to give Villanova a 26-13 with 7:55 remaining in the first half.
For Lafayette, Jamie O'Hare kept them within striking distance in the first half with three 3-pointers. Fiacco chipped in a few short jumpers as the Leopards used an 11-0 run to climb within two points. But they missed multiple one-and-ones and could not take the lead at halftime, as Villanova led 29-28 after 20 minutes.
The Wildcats made six straight 3-pointers after starting out 0-5. They shot 31.4 percent from the floor in the first half.
Villanova ran with a bit of a different starting lineup today. Kane started at point guard and Caroline Coyer directed the second unit. Perretta went with his usual early-game shift where he subs out the entire starting lineup, and then mixes and matches for the rest of the game.
'Nova only committed eight turnovers, and assisted on 8 of their 22 field goals. Their dominant performance puts them at 5-0 to start the season, and guarantees that both Villanova basketball teams will reach Thanksgiving with undefeated records. That has not happened since 2005.
Their next game will be on Friday, November 29, in Miami against Montana State.