Villanova found itself in a familiar situation in Saturday's TD Bank Classic championship game.
Approximately 24 hours earlier, the Wildcats saw their comfortable lead suddenly dissipate in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, thanks to a late James Madison rally.
Just as they did against the Dukes, the Wildcats had to fend off another comeback bid—this time by American. They hung on to win the TD Bank Classic with a 65-60 victory.
The Eagles were hoping for another stunning finish or bounce back to force overtime, but their attempt was denied. They gave a valiant effort though—at one point early in the fourth quarter, Villanova led by as much as 24 points.
It seemed like the Wildcats would be able to coast to the championship, thanks to their hot start. After a three-pointer by Megan Quinn got things going from opening tip-off, the Wildcats just piled it on from there. They pounced the Eagles, taking a quick 20-6 lead after the first quarter.
Villanova was in clear control for most of the game—shooting well on one end, while locking down defensively on the other.
The lead remained in double digits through halftime--when Villanova took a 39-24 lead at the break--all the way up to the 1:31-mark in the fourth quarter, when Katie Marenyi scored a layup to trim Villanova's lead down to eight.
Just like the previous matchup against the Dukes, there were some jitters at the line, as the Wildcats only converted on three of their last eight foul shots of the game. Offensively, they were struggling to get their shots to fall.
American capitalized, trimming the VIllanova lead down as far as a four-point deficit. A putback by Emily Kinneston topped off a 24-4 run that lasted for approximately eight minutes.
However, that would be the final basket American would make. The Eagles didn't have enough time to complete the comeback.
Villanova sophomore Kelly Jekot added one more free throw for good measure. The Eagles would take one last shot, but it caromed harmlessly off the board and into the hands of Alex Louin, who dribbled the clock out until the final buzzer.
Jekot would take home the TD Bank Classic's MVP honors. She had 14 points, five rebounds, and two steals against the Eagles. Adrianna Hahn scored a game-high 16 points and impressed with five baskets from long range. She was also named to the all-tournament team. Quinn chipped 12 points and seven rebounds.
As for American, the Eagles were paced by Cecily Carl's double-double. Carl tallied 11 points and 14 rebounds. Kinneston, who hit the buzzer-beater against Vermont on Friday night, finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Villanova improves to 5-0 on the season. The Wildcats will resume action on Wednesday (Nov. 29), when they head over to Princeton to take on the Tigers. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.