Final scores can often be very misleading, and Friday’s early action against St. John’s was a perfect example. The Lady ‘Cats won 69-52, but this was anything but a walk in the park.
The St. John’s Red Storm stormed (pun intended) off to a 10-0 start just a few minutes into the game, thanks to Philadelphia native and Red Storm sophomore Alisha Kebbe heating up early. Villanova head coach Harry Perretta called timeout to try and energize his team, and they responded with a three-pointer from Alex Louin. After some poor shooting from behind the arc, they began utilizing sophomore Mary Gedaka down low and got her going.
The Wildcats entered the second quarter down six, but a quick three-pointer from Gedaka was followed up by another three from Bridget Herlihy and the game was tied at 16 with 8 minutes left in the half. They picked up the pressure on defense as well, forcing some bad shots from Saint John’s and converting on the other end of the court. Gedaka took off in the second quarter in the paint, showing off an array of spin moves and lead the Wildcats with 15 points in the first half.
With both teams going cold from beyond the arc, they seemed to adjust their offense to avoid those tough three-pointers and redirected their efforts inside. The Red Storm shot 44 percent from the field in the first half, slightly bettering Nova’s 40 percent.
‘Nova held a slight 30-27 lead at the break.
The Johnnies came out firing in the third quarter, going on an extended 12-5 run, with the five ‘Nova points all coming from Jannah Tucker. The shots were just not falling early for the Wildcats. It was a relatively slow quarter for both teams until Kelly Jekot nailed a three-pointer with 12 seconds to give ‘Nova a 40-39 lead, which was immediately answered with a jumper from Tiana England at the buzzer.
Jekot opened the fourth quarter with a tough layup, and after back-to-back three-pointers from Louin the Cats found themselves up seven, and they didn’t look back. They finally got into their groove shooting, starting out 7-8 from the field, including 4-5 from behind the arc.
“I told the girls to just relax, make a couple threes and the game will come to us,” Coach Perretta said after the game.
The Wildcats went on a tear in the final minutes of the game and before you knew it they came out with a 17 point victory.
“This is a game we really needed in terms of Big East play,” Gedaka said after the game. “Saint John’s is a really tough team and beat us last time out and we needed this game to keep our hot streak going.”
Gedaka finished with 21 points and 5 rebounds, earning some praise from Perretta.
“She had a great game today, almost the opposite of what she did up in Saint John’s,” he said. “She’s really smart with the ball and knows when to drive to the hoop or look for her teammates.”
Alex Louin finished the game with 15 points, shooting a perfect 5-5 from behind the arc, while grabbing 11 rebounds—including some clutch defensive boards that allowed them to go on a run towards the end of the game.
For the Red Storm, Singleton finished with 11 points and 18 rebounds, and Kebbe added another 15.
Villanova improves to 19-5 overall and 9-4 in Big East play. They have another quick turnaround with another home game on Sunday against the 15-9 Seton Hall Pirates, with tip-off scheduled for 2:00 PM.