VILLANOVA, PA. 11/9/2019 – The Villanova Wildcats played harder, showed improvement, but did not execute in the late stages of the game, and lose to the James Madison Dukes 56 – 52 at the Finneran Pavilion.
The Dukes went for a quick knockout jumping out to a 17 – 3 lead in the first quarter. The Wildcats weathered the storm and began a comeback getting to within 31 – 25 at halftime.
“We played hard and much better than we did in the first game,” said Villanova Coach Harry Perretta. “It was a big improvement, but we make too many errors in crucial situations.”
Villanova began to get a spark on offense in the third quarter led by forwards Mary Gedaka and Madison Siegrist. Gedaka scored 9 points in the quarter, as did Siegrist, who had three three-pointers to end the stanza to give Villanova a 44 – 41 lead.
In the fourth quarter the Cats did not get their first basket until there was 40 seconds to play, and they were plagued by four turnovers which cost them opportunities.
James Madison took the lead back at the 5:58 mark on a basket by Lexie Barrier, who scored 20 points. Nova could not get the lead back. Inexperience in crucial situations were a factor.
“You’ve got to get shots at the basket,” said Perretta. “They (JMU) don’t turn the ball over and that’s what we have to learn, but not there yet.”
“We have to learn to play in crucial situations.”
Kamiah Smalls scored a game-high 22 points for the Dukes. Kayla Cooper-Williams took down a game-best 10 rebounds. JMU owned a 46 – 37 edge off the glass.
Villanova had three players score in double figures. Gedaka led the way with 16 points. Siegrist added 14 points and Bridget Herlihy contributed 10 points and 7 rebounds. Cameron Onken took down 8 rebounds, a new career-high. Brianna Herlihy dished out a team-best 5 assists, a new collegiate mark for her.
The Wildcats fall to 0 – 2. The team is still a work in progress, but took a step forward. The next chance comes on Thursday when they travel to Washington to play American University.
“We have to start with playing harder which we did,” said Perretta. “We have to learn to be more consistent.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian