VILLANOVA, PA. 1/15/2014 – When one thinks of the Big Five men’s games, competitive, thrilling, and down to the wire come to mind. The Big Five women’s games are that way now evidenced by the Villanova Wildcats 55 – 54 win over the University of Pennsylvania Quakers at the Pavilion. In the last five minutes of the game there were two lead changes and the largest lead was three points. A short jumper by Villanova sophomore guard Katherine Coyer gave the Wildcats the lead, and they had to hold off Penn who had two shots in the last seven seconds that did not go. The game was no surprise to Villanova.
“We knew they were going to be tough,” said Villanova sophomore guard Caroline Coyer who led all scorers with 17 points. “They are a good team, really smart, really poised, really fundamental. We didn’t come in here thinking were going to blow them out.
Penn was coming off big loss to Princeton. The Red and Blue bounced back to give the Blue and White all they could handle. The score was tied at 48 with 8:26 to play. Villanova turned up the defense and got a five point lead at the 5:25 mark.
“That one stretch we pressed them and caught them off guard a little bit,” said Villanova Coach Harry Perretta. “We pushed the game up to five and I thought at the point, if we make one more shot and make it eight, I thought we would be good. In that one little stretch we were able to generate some offense by pressing.”
Penn did not go away, and took a 54 – 53 lead behind a 6 – 0 run on a free throw by freshman forward Sydney Stipanovich. The Wildcats answered with the Katherine Coyer basket with a minute to play. Penn got their chance to win the game but could not convert three field goal attempts, a missed three and layup by senior guard Alyssa Baron and a layup by Stipanovich, until they lost the ball out of bounds.
“We gave ourselves an opportunity to win,” said Penn Coach Mike McLaughlin. “We came here to win. It’s disappointing when you don’t get the outcome you came for. We came up one play short.”
Caroline Coyer also handed out 5 assists. Katherine Coyer scored 11 points. Junior forward Lauren Burford posted 13 points for Villanova. The Wildcats shot 38.6% for the game (22 – 57), and converted 9 of 31 three-point shots (29%).
Baron scored a team-high 16 points and took down 9 rebounds. Junior forward Kara Bonenberger also posted double figures with 12 points. Penn was 21 of 56 from the floor (37.5%), and made 3 of 17 from beyond the arc.
“In this game we were able to keep our poise, and keep going,” said Caroline Coyer. “Our shots weren’t falling, so keep shooting and if not play good defense to keep us alive.”
Villanova (13 – 3, 3 – 1 in the Big Five) prepares for a Big East battle in Chicago against DePaul. Meanwhile, Penn (8 – 4 overall, 1 -1 in the Big Five) has another City Series battle at Saint Joseph’s on January 17.
Written By: Glenn Papazian