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Villanova Women's Basketball Preview: TD Bank Classic Preview/Primer

The Lady ‘Cats are looking to build off their Duke win and remain undefeated this weekend.

-Ryan Bowman/VU Hoops

The Villanova Wildcats will have a busy Thanksgiving Weekend, as they head up to Vermont for the TD Bank Classic (also known as the Vermont Thanksgiving Tournament). It is a four-team event that is played over Friday and Saturday.

This is what you need to know about Villanova, as well as the three other teams in attendance—James Madison, Vermont, and American—for this tournament.


Schedule

Friday, November 24, 2017
Vermont vs. American, 5 p.m.
Villanova vs. James Madison, 7 p.m.

Saturday, November 25, 2017
Consolation Game, 5 p.m.
Championship Game, 7 p.m.


Meet The Teams

Villanova Wildcats
Record: 3-0
Head Coach: Harry Perretta (39th season)
Key Players: #31 Adrianna Hahn (5-6) Jr., G; #2 Alex Louin (6-0) Sr., G; #25 Kelly Jekot (6-0) So., G; #30 Mary Gedaka (6-1) So., F
So Far: Won vs. No. 11 Duke (64-55), Lehigh (62-42), and Hartford (71-53)

Outlook: Recently dubbed the NCAA's "Team of the Week", Villanova heads into the TD Bank Classic with serious momentum--and expectation--after upsetting then-ranked No. 11 Duke at home. The Wildcats are the only undefeated team in this four-team field, and the only one with a winning record. They'll look to maintain that with their three-point centered offense. Despite shooting only 29.2 percent from beyond the arc through three games this season, Villanova will continue to "shoot 'em up, sleep in the streets." As a team, over half of the Wildcats' shots came from long range and that trend doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. This is a guard, perimeter dominant squad, and they saw how high their confidence in the three-ball can take them, as they sank 15 of them against the Blue Devils. Even though they shot 5-of-20 (25 percent) in that opening half, they continued to shoot and made 10-of-20 (50 percent) in the second half of that game--no fear there. Big East Player of the Week Kelly Jekot is coming off of an explosive 23-point performance against the Blue Devils and will look to build off that. Adrianna Hahn and Alex Louin are proven scorers and dangerous when they are able to get in a rhythm. Also keep an eye out for Mary Gedaka, the sophomore forward has been an asset off the bench. She played a vital role in the Lehigh game and so far this season, she hasn't missed much--shooting 13-of-15 this season, while averaging just under double figures.

James Madison Dukes
Record: 1-3
Head Coach: Sean O'Regan (2nd season)
Key Players: #3 Kamiah Smalls (5-10) So., G; #15 Lexie Barrier (5-10) So., G; #33 Kelly Koshuta (6-2) So., F
So Far: Won vs. Wagner (68-45) | Losses vs. Rutgers (76-63), #13 Tennessee (89-60), and St. Joseph's (73-66)

Outlook: After a solid first season with Sean O'Regan at the helm of the James Madison women's basketball team, it hasn't been the greatest of starts for the second-year head coach. The Dukes lost three of their first four games to start the season, including a pair to St. Joe's--which it beat by double digits last year--and Rutgers, another team it previously beat. However, the Dukes are no stranger to slow starts, undergoing one last year before finishing 26-9. They'll get Villanova to start, the team that had knocked them out in the third round of the WNIT. The blaring difference between then and now for James Madison is the graduation of all-everything Precious Hall, a scoring machine that accumulated 2,347 points--the second-highest total in program history. The workload has since been placed on Kamiah Smalls and Lexie Barrier, a pair of sophomore guards that seem to be the go-to players on this team. Smalls excels mostly inside the arc and defensively, while Barrier likes to sling it from deep but hasn't been all that efficient--just 6-for-24 on the year. Kelly Koshuta is another sophomore that's playing well for the Dukes, shooting a team-high 60.7 percent off the bench. With a majority of this team leaning towards the younger and inexperienced side, the Dukes have had issues with taking care of the ball. Right now, they're ranked 286th in terms of turnovers, which they do almost 20 times a game.

Vermont Catamounts
Record: 2-3
Head Coach: Chris Day (2nd season)
Key Players: #10 Hanna Crymble (6-3) So., F; #13 Kristina White (5-8) Sr., G; #15 Cassidy Dorda (6-2) Jr., F
So Far: Won vs. Howard (88-65) and Norwich (75-61) | Losses vs. Columbia (73-66), Miami (73-49), and Dartmouth (66-56)

Outlook: The hosts of the tournament, the Vermont Catamounts are looking for their first TD Bank Classic win since 2011, as well as rebound and improve from a subpar 9-20 season. So far, the Catamounts have either won big, or lost big. After an impressive freshman season, Minnesota native Hanna Crymble has become the cornerstone of this team. Crymble is an interior presence, one that can score and rebound well. She can occasionally make the three, but most of her work will happen inside the arc, where she can make over 50 percent of her takes. She's the only member of the Catamounts that's averaging in double figures, leading the team with 16.8 points per game and 6.0 rebounds per game. In the backcourt, Vermont has gotten the most production so far out of Kristina White and Cassidy Dorda. They're both capable three-point shooters and can also help out on the boards. Dorda can help stretch the floor, with her ability to play inside and out. As for White, she is a solid two-way player and possibly the best perimeter defender on this team. As an experienced senior on this team, she's looking to leave a lasting impression.

American Eagles
Record: 2-2
Head Coach: Megan Gebbia (5th season)
Key Players: #4 Emily Kinneson (5-8) Sr., G; #33 Michael Harris (6-1) Sr., F; #44 Cecily Carl (6-3) Jr., F
So Far: Won vs. La Salle (66-48) and Tulsa (72-67) | Losses vs. George Mason (71-53) and Delaware (72-56)

Outlook: The Eagles come in the TD Bank Classic hoping to leave with an above .500 record. It was a promising 2-0 start for American, one that quickly equalized itself over the last two games. With an upperclassmen-loaded roster--six seniors and five juniors--the Eagles are looking to work for their first winning season since a 24-win campaign in 2014. With such a veteran presence, the Eagles have a pretty deep rotation. Emily Kinneson and Michael Harris are American's top scorers, both averaging over 10 points per game. They are both mainly inside scorers, along with Cecily Carl, who is also a rebounding specialist. Junior Kaitlyn Lewis adds a presence at the perimeter, shooting 6-of-10 from deep so far. This is a team that probably relies the most on scoring inside the arc, as opposed to the other three playing in the TD Bank Classic. Overall, the Eagles haven't really faced teams that like to shoot the ball a lot, but they have held opposing teams to shooting to 32.3 percent from deep.