In an early battle of un-beatens, the Villanova Wildcats faced off against the 3-0 Lehigh Mountain Hawks. After a fairly sluggish 59-41 victory last week against the University of Hartford, the ‘Cats were looking to keep their momentum going against a tougher opponent.
After a long nine-day layoff since Villanova’s last game, it seemed like the Lady ‘Cats couldn’t wait to set foot on the court. They pounced all over the Mountain Hawks en route to a 70-48 victory.
The ‘Cats jumped out of the gate to an early lead with a three-pointer from Kelly Jekot and they didn’t look back. They looked sound on defense, forcing bad passes and a few turnovers that ultimately led to a 10-0 lead midway through the first quarter. A handful of missed shots later, the Mountain Hawks finally made it on the board after almost five minutes without scoring. After another three-pointer from Jekot towards the end of the quarter, the ‘Cats took a 13-5 lead into the first break.
Jekot opened up the second quarter with another three-pointer and it was clear the Mountain Hawks were struggling to contain Villanova’s explosive offense. Some buckets from Bridget Herlihy and senior captain Adrianna Hahn kept the lead in the double digits throughout the second quarter, as the Wildcats tipped off the second quarter with a big 15-5 run.
Thanks to their sound all-around performance offensively and defensively, Villanova took a 32-18 lead at halftime.
If the first half wasn’t enough of an indication, the third quarter made it clear this was the Kelly Jekot show. She opened up the third quarter with a nice three-point play and added some more layups and a three-pointer. The ‘Cats kept up their sound defensive play, forcing bad shots and grabbing a few more steals. Gedaka made a layup as time expired to give Villanova a 51-27 lead and the game was effectively over.
The fourth quarter was a mere formality as Harry Perretta emptied the bench. Jekot finished with 24 points and and six rebounds, while Mary Gedaka also hit double digits with 15 points and five rebounds.
The ‘Cats forced 19 turnovers, including 11 steals, led by Hahn’s six swipes—while keeping Lehigh shooting only 28.6% from the field. The ‘Cats stayed true to their formula for success: getting points from deep and then also punishing their opponents inside. They connected on eleven three-pointers while also getting 30 points in the paint.
For La Salle, it was kept to single digit scoring numbers as a team in every quarter except for the second. Camryn Buhr paced the Explorers with a team-high 13 points and five rebounds. Mary Clougherty chipped in 11 points and eight rebounds.
The Lady ‘Cats return to the Pavilion (Finn? Pav? Whatever we’re supposed to call it now) on Tuesday to face off against Big 5 rival La Salle. The Explorers are 0-3 and struggling mightily so far, averaging just over 45 points per game, while allowing almost 71. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.