The Villanova Wildcats were well on their way to their fourth straight win, nursing a double digit lead with a little over 10 minutes of action to be played, but an explosive fourth quarter from the Virginia Tech Hokies sunk the Wildcats in the final seconds.
A three-point play from Trinity Baptiste with five seconds remaining proved to be the winner as the Wildcats lost their first game of the season, 61-59.
Senior Taylor Emery scored the first basket of the game for the Hokies, but Jannah Tucker responded with a three-pointer on the next possession. Jekot scored two quick layups after a forced turnover, but Virginia Tech’s Dara Mabrey sunk a three-pointer to tie the game at nine. Jekot nailed a fast-break three-pointer to give the Wildcats a 12-9 lead that would hold until the end of the quarter.
The ‘Cats extended their lead with a three-pointers from Brianna Herlihy and freshman Emily Esposito (her first three-pointer of the season!) but the Hokies wouldn’t roll over. Emery nailed a three-pointer midway through the quarter and more baskets from Mabrey kept the lead in the single digits. Grace Stant missed a three-pointer as time expired in the first half and the Wildcats took a 30-21 lead into the break.
The Wildcats were almost exclusively scoring from either under the basket or behind the arc and the Hokies were struggling to defend both aspects.
‘Nova opened the third quarter with a 9-3 run to push their lead to double digits. Jekot had seven points in the first few minutes of the quarter and Bridget Herlihy scored her first basket of the game inside the paint. The teams traded baskets for the rest of the quarter but the Wildcats were able to maintain their double digit lead. A layup from VT with seconds remaining brought the lead down to single digits, and the Wildcats took a 46-37 lead into the final quarter of action.
The Hokies looked like a team possessed in the final quarter of action, going on a 10-3 run in the opening minutes. A three-pointer from Emery tied the game with three and a half minutes remaining. ‘Nova had two possessions in the final two minutes to extend their lead but failed to convert on both; an uncharacteristic miss from Jekot in the paint and a contested three from Hahn.
Emery grabbed the rebound off the Hahn missed three, and drove the ball into the paint, but the shot didn’t fall. Baptiste grabbed the rebound and converted on the putback while getting fouled by Bridget Herlihy. She converted the free-throw the give the Hookies a two point lead with second remaining. They had fouls to give and used them effectively chipping time off the clock which ultimately lead to a missed shot from Gedaka as time expired.
Jekot finished with 22 points, shooting 9-13 from the field and Gedaka added 11 points and 9 rebounds for the Wildcats.
Taylor Emory also scores 22 points for the Hokies, and Regan Magarity had a double-double with 18 points and 16 rebounds. The Wildcats were out-rebounded 43-23 (17-1 on the offensive boards) and only shot 5 free throws compared to the Hookies 22 (read into that what you will). This was definitely a disappointing loss for the Wildcats as they seemed poised to hold on to a victory for most of the game.
The Wildcats fall to 3-1 on the season and will face UCF tomorrow, in the consolation game, at 1:30 p.m.