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.
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.
“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