Villanova found itself in a familiar situation once again, locked in a closely contested battle—much like the Wildcats’ recent Big East games.
Unfortunately, unlike their last two times out on the court, they wouldn’t end up on the winning side of things.
Providence was able to fend off the ‘Cats at home, as the Friars went on to win 67-61 on Sunday afternoon.
Much like Villanova’s last outing, a game against Creighton, the game was all tied up going into the fourth quarter. Kelly Jekot drained a three to make it 44-44 going into the final 10 minutes of play.
It was a needed basket to give the ‘Cats some momentum heading into the fourth. It was a close battle up until that point. Villanova had a solid first quarter, only to receive an answer back by an even-better Providence second quarter. The Wildcats managed to outscore the Friars into the third and with the equalizing shot in the closing seconds, Villanova was able to catch back up to Providence.
A pair of three-pointers by Cameron Onken and another by Emily Esposito put Villanova in front to start the final frame of play.
Providence stayed right behind Villanova the entire time, and eventually things were tied up once again at 56, with just 3:09 remaining in the game.
From there, the Friars went on an 11-2 run to gain separation. Providence’s Jovana Nogic, the sixth-highest scorer in the Big East heading into Sunday’s contest, was crucial in helping the Friars pull away. A talented scorer from almost anywhere on the court, she delivered and stayed poised from the free throw line. She was a perfect 8-for-8 in free throw attempts during the decisive run. Kaela Webb also scored and Mary Baskerville went 1-of-2 from the charity stripe to account for the other three points.
The Wildcats, who were marred by turnovers and missed shots over the final two minutes of play did get a last-second trey by Esposito to drop, just before the final buzzer, but the game was already well-decided by then.
Adrianna Hahn paced Villanova with a 19-point effort. Jekot added 11 points, four rebounds, and three blocks. Mary Gedaka had eight points, seven rebounds, and six assists.
It was a disappointing ending for the ‘Cats, who enjoyed a solid shooting performance from long range. As a team, they knocked down 13-of-35 (40.0 percent) of their three-point shots. They especially stepped it up in the second half, when they went 9-for-16 from deep over the final two quarters of play.
For Providence, Nogic finished with a game-high 23 points. Her fellow classmate, senior Maddie Jolin, had 18 points, four rebounds, two assists, and a pair of steals.
‘Nova couldn’t slow down the senior tandem, which accounted for almost two-thirds of the Friars’ points. However, Providence had a pretty efficient shooting game overall. As a team, it shot 23-for-44 (52.3 percent) overall and 5-of-8 (62.5 percent) from deep. While Providence turned it over 17 times, the efficient scoring—which only got better as the game progressed—was problematic for the ‘Cats.
Villanova drops to 10-4 overall, and 2-2 in the Big East. The ‘Cats will return home next weekend for a tough home stand against the top two teams in the conference. First up for the ‘Cats will be the Marquette Golden Eagles (12-3, 3-0 Big East) on Friday morning. Tip-off is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.