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Strong second half play propels Lady ‘Cats to 59-41 victory over Hartford

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First one down!

-Ryan Bowman/VU Hoops

After calling Jake Nevin Field House home all of last season, the Villanova women’s basketball team was back in its true domain—the Finneran Pavilion.

The Lady ‘Cats were able to start off their 2018-19 campaign in the revamped Pavilion, with a 59-41 victory over the visiting Hartford Hawks.

While it was a closely contested first half, where neither team was able to find a rhythm offensively, the Wildcats managed to take a 25-18 lead into the break.

They trailed Hartford to start, until they went on a 10-3 run to end the first quarter and take the lead. The Hawks were unable to take it back, but they did stay in the game—at least until the Wildcats came out after halftime.

They turned up the intensity in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter, and Hartford failed to produce an answer for Villanova’s resurgence. Once the Wildcats started stringing together baskets, their confidence spilled into other areas of the game.

The Wildcats outscored their opponents 34-23 in the second half of the game, and seemed to only get better as the clock kept ticking away. In the fourth quarter, Villanova used a more interior-focused attack and strayed away from taking three-pointers.

Although it struggled with its three-point shooting throughout the entire game (just 5-of-30 from long range), the Wildcats looked to go inside the arc in the fourth quarter, where they went 7-for-9 to finish off their opponents.

Meanwhile, Hartford never broke its shooting rut and finished the game with a subpar 16-of-65 (24.6 percent) performance on the floor, including a 2-for-14 (14.3 percent) display from three-point range.

Sierra Dacosta got Hartford going early, scoring all 11 of the team’s first quarter points. Unfortunately for her, she didn’t get any support from her teammates on the offensive front. She led Hartford with a 16-point effort and shot 7-of-11 on the floor. Meanwhile, the rest of the Hawks shot just 9-for-54 (16.7 percent) overall. However, Ella Awobajo did contribute a 13-point, 10-rebound double-double.

As for Villanova, Mary Gedaka enjoyed a solid first game as a full-time starter, after gaining some buzz as the Big East Sixth Woman of the Year last season. She had a game-high 18 points off of 7-of-10 shooting. She also had six rebounds and a pair of assists to complement her efficient attack. Jannah Tucker chipped in 12 points, while Kelly Jekot had 10 points, three rebounds, and a pair of blocks. Bridget Herlihy, the other new full-time starter, only had two points, but contributed everywhere else. She led a strong effort on the boards, with 10 rebounds, she also had four assists, three blocks, and three steals.

Villanova will take a long nine-day break, before taking the court again on Friday, Nov. 16. The Wildcats will head on the road to take on Lehigh. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET.