In a gritty battle on Sunday afternoon, the Villanova Women’s Basketball team defeated the Seton Hall Pirates 59-53, notching their sixth consecutive 20-win season.
The first quarter started out fairly slow, with both teams missing a lot of shots and struggling to string a run together. Both teams shot around 25 percent from the field in the first, but the Wildcats took an 11-8 lead into the first break.
The shots started falling in the second quarter for the ‘Cats, including some three-pointers from Jannah Tucker, Megan Quinn, and Kelly Jekot. With a mix of defensive stops and good shots on offense, they were able to string together a run that gave them a 14 point lead midway through the quarter. The Pirates chipped away at the lead but the ‘Cats kept up their stifling defense, including a span of a few minutes were Bridget Herlihy logged three blocks.
Villanova took a 29-18 lead into the intermission with Jekot leading the way with 10 points, Quinn with eight points, and Alex Louin on pace for another double-double with 6 points and 9 rebounds. The ‘Cats shot 39 percent from the field in the half while the Pirates were shooting a lowly 24 percent, including going 0-6 from behind the arc. JaQuan Jackson was leading the way for the Pirates with 8 points and 4 rebounds. While the ‘Cats were just about matching Seton Hall in terms of rebounds, the Pirates grabbed 12 offensive rebounds compared to ‘Nova’s four.
The second half opened up with a quick flurry of threes from the Wildcats, including Adrianna Hahn and Tucker again. The Pirates started making shots to keep them in the game, but Villanova was matching them shot for shot and maintained a double digit lead. They pushed the lead to 18 at one points, but the Pirates would not go down without a fight.
The energy in the building became palpable in the final quarter of action, as Seton Hall had a decent crowd size backing them up behind the bench who were making themselves heard. The action on court became much more physical down low as Seton Hall fought to get back into the game. Villanova maintained a double digit lead for the majority of the lead due to a mix of missed layups from the Pirates and big shots from the ‘Cats.
The Pirates pulled it within six points with 1:30 left, and after some missed free throws from Mary Gedaka the Pirates were within six points again with 25 seconds remaining. The Pirates couldn’t capitalize on the offensive side and the ‘Cats held on to win 59-53.
“We knew it would be a very difficult game, they [Seton Hall] are playing much better than they were earlier in the season,” Villanova head coach Harry Perretta said after the game.
Louin recorded her second straight double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds, a new career high. Jekot had 12 points and three assists, while Hahn added 10 points. The team shot 43 percent from the field while Seton Hall only shot 34.7 percent. The Pirates missed a lot of shots down low especially down the stretch which prevented them from coming back into the game.
Gedaka had come into the game averaging 16 points in the last three games but was held to only eight points, which drew compliments from Perretta.
“They put someone on Mary and did a really good job of taking her out of the game so we couldn’t get her going as much as we wanted to,” Perretta said. “Adrianna and Alex really stepped up and made some tough shots when we needed them.”
With the victory today the Lady ‘Cats improve to 20-5 on the season, clinching their sixth consecutive 20-win season and 20th season overall. The ‘Cats improve to 10-4 in Big East play before heading on a two game road series against the top two teams in the Big East. Villanova takes on second place Marquette on Friday and DePaul on Sunday, the leaders of the Big East.