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Cold-shooting fourth quarter dooms Lady ‘Cats in Big East Opener

It was a closely contested game, until Villanova went cold down the stretch.

-Ryan Bowman/VU Hoops

The Villanova Wildcats women’s basketball team found their five-game winning streak coming to an end on Saturday night. Their winning momentum came to a screeching halt against the Butler Bulldogs, paralleling the Wildcats’ fourth quarter.

They were right there alongside Butler, until a cold-shooting drought plagued Villanova’s final 3:47 of the game. It made only 1-of-10 final shot attempts, as Butler capitalized and pulled away for a 63-55 win at Finneran Pavilion.

The Wildcats held a 47-43 lead going into the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs outscored them, 20-8, in the final frame of play.

After a Jannah Tucker three-pointer gave Villanova a brief 54-53 lead with 3:47 left in the game, Butler went on an 8-0 run to take the lead. Michelle Weaver buried a three to spark the run, and it was capped off by a series of made free throws by Whitney Jennings and Kristen Spolyar.

While those Bulldogs were instrumental in the game-winning run, it was actually Tori Schickel who spearheaded Butler. The 6-foot-1 senior forward and two-time All-Conference player eviscerated the Wildcats inside. She finished with a game-high 22 points and nine rebounds. Schickel was an efficient 10-of-15 on the floor. The Bulldogs also got a solid performance from Katherine Strong, who added 15 points to the winning effort.

Butler got off to a hot start, outplaying the Wildcats in almost every facet of the game. However, the Wildcats would turn things around in the second quarter, as they settled in and strung together a number of baskets.

Villanova outscored Butler, 19-7, in the second quarter to take a narrow 30-28 lead at halftime.

From there, it would be a close game, until the Wildcats cooled off immensely in the fourth quarter.

Over the final 10 minutes of play, Villanova was just 2-of-16 (12.5 percent) overall, and 2-for-12 (16.7 percent) from deep. Overall, it shot just 18-of-55 (32.7 percent) for the entire game, with a slightly-worse 11-for-38 (28.9 percent) clip from long range. It didn’t help that they got outrebounded, 46-24.

Despite all this, the Wildcats had a chance, thanks to the balanced attack that came with four different players finishing in double figures. Adrianna Hahn led the way with 16 points and six assists. Tucker chipped in 15 points. Kelly Jekot had 11 points, while Mary Gedaka finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.

Now, the Wildcats will look to regroup and return to action soon, with a game against the Xavier Musketeers on New Year’s Eve. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.