Villanova Women Fall Short Against Delaware 64- 56

VILLANOVA, November 22, 2011 – The Villanova Women’s Basketball team held a 6 point lead with 9:16 to play over the University of Delaware Blue Hens, but would score only 8 more points the rest of the way losing 64 – 56 at the Pavilion.  The Wildcats did not score over the last 2:25 missing their last seven shots.  Two free throws by Guard Akeema Richards and a jump shot by Guard Vanessa Kabongo put Delaware in front.

Laura Sweeney

Then their foul shooting put the game in the win column for the Blue Hens.  Villanova Junior Forward Laura Sweeney scored a game-high 25 points.  Forward Elena Della Donne tallied 22 for Delaware.  Villanova Coach Harry Perretta felt the opposition made the big shots at the right time.

“Both teams played really hard, but down the stretch both teams got good shots,” said Perretta.  “They made some pressure shots they needed to make, and we missed some of them.”
Delaware was coming off a big upset win over Penn State.  Villanova entered the game with a loss to Princeton.  This was a close game throughout with 8 ties and 8 lead changes.  Delaware led 30 – 27 at halftime.  In the second half Villanova went on a 13 – 0 run to take a 6 point lead at 48 – 42 with 9:18 to play.  The Wildcats held the Blue Hens scoreless for 5:57 in the run.  Sweeney scored the first 7 points, then back to back 3’s by Senior Guard Lindsay Kimmel and Junior Forward Megan Pearson gave Villanova their largest lead of the game.  Delaware started their comeback scoring 8 straight points to move in front 50 – 48 on 2 free throws by Guard Trumae Lucas.  Kabongo contributed two baskets in the Blue Hens counter-run.  A layup by Red Shirt Freshman Forward Lauren Burford tied the game at 50.  A layup by Sweeney gave Villanova their last lead at 54 – 53 with 5:07 on the clock.  The score was tied at 54 when Kabongo made the layup to give Delaware the lead, but Sweeney made two free throws tied the game with 2 free throws at the 2:25 mark.  That was the last score for Villanova, and Delaware closed it out with a Kabongo jumper and 6 made free throws, 4 by Della Donne.
“We tried to speed up the game,” said Delaware Coach Tina Martin on how her team played down the stretch.  “I thought that we quickened the pace and that allowed us top get into a flow.  Defensively, we buckled down a little bit, got out on shooters, and rebounded.  Putting some pressure on allowed our kids to make up and play with a sense of urgency on the defensive end.”
“The key to the game was that when we made the same defensive error, on the next play their kid makes the shot,” said Perretta.
Elena Della Donne

In addition to her 25 points, 15 in the second half, Sweeney also had 7 rebounds and made 10 of 11 free throws.  Della Donne scored 22 points, pulled down 9 rebounds and made 7 of 8 from the line.  Each team used their leading scorer in the same manner.  The strategy was to get the ball inside, then if a pass for an open three was available, make it.  If not, take the ball to the basket.  Delaware got a little more from other players as Guard Danielle Parker had 12 points and Kabongo contributed 10.  Villanova had not other double figures scorer.  Pearson did have 9.  Sweeney is gaining confidence as the offense flowed through the Marlton, NJ native.

“I need to do a better job at the start of the games,” said Sweeney.  “Sometimes when I get in there I feel a little riled up, emotional, and my goal now is to put a full game together, not just a second half.”

Delaware out-rebounded Villanova 42 – 33, and had a 16 – 11 advantage on the offensive glass.  That led to a 15 – 6 edge in 2nd Chance Points for the Blue Hens, and a 30 – 16 lead in Points in the Paint.  Villanova was good on 8 of 28 shots from beyond the arc.  Delaware tried 6 Three-Point shots, they made one as Della Donne nailed the shot in the first half.  She called for the ball and took the 3 right after a block of a Sweeney layup.

Villanova is 3 – 2 on the season and has a November 26 home game against the University of the Sciences.  The Wildcats go on a three game road trip following that with contests at Lehigh, La Salle, then the Big East opener at Providence.

Harry Perretta

“We’re much better than we were last year,” Perretta said.  “Our biggest problem is getting over that hump that we know we are better, but at the same time we panic a little bit.  When you are trying to learn how to win, you try so hard you mess yourself up.  I use the term simplicity.  We have to play hard, but keep it simple.  After 5 games we are 3 – 2 against opponents that are pretty good teams, so I am really happy at this point.”

Before the game Villanova honored Perretta for his 600th career coaching win.  He got the milestone win in a game against Iona, then got number 601 in their win against Marist.  Perretta is in his 34th year as head coach of the Villanova program.  The 601 wins makes him the winningest coach in the history of Villanova basketball both men and women.  Perretta has a 601 – 379 record and ranks 23rd on the winningest active coaches list.


Written By: Glenn Papazian

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