VILLANOVA, PA. 12/29/2019 – The Villanova Wildcats opened their Big East season outlasting the Providence Friars 51 – 49 at the Finn. The game ended with Providence getting a last opportunity to tie, but a shot was late and off the mark. Villanova lead from start to finish in the new part of the schedule.
“Coming in with confidence, really understanding that this is a new season and staying in the flow of our offense that was really key for us today,” said Villanova forward Mary Gedaka.
Villanova (6 – 5, 1 – 0) opened the game shooting well and playing defense. The Cats got off to a 16-point lead early in the second quarter. Six of the Wildcats who played scored. That early margin eventually gave the team enough space to get the win.
“That ended up winning the game for us because then our defense basically held on for us to win,” said Villanova Coach Harry Perretta. “The only way we can win the game is if they don’t get fifty because we can’t score enough points to win if we don’t play good defense.”
The second half was different. Over the last two quarters only Gedaka and Maddy Siegrist made baskets. For the game the duo made 15 of 30 from the floor. The biggest bucket was a three-pointer by Siegrist as the shot clock ran out with just under three and a half minutes to play. It gave Villanova a 49 – 39 lead.
Providence (9 – 4, 0 – 1) outscored Nova the rest of the way 10 – 2, and chipped away at a lead they could not overcome. A three by Kaela Webb at the 43 second mark was the last basket by either team. A steal by Olivia Orlando gave the Friars a chance. Villanova guard Cameron Onken fouled, but since her team was under the limit, Providence had to inbound again. The last shot was launched after the horn sounded.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well. The Wildcats were 20 of 58 (34.5%) while the Friars made 22 of 57 (38.6%). Villanova made 8 of 30 from distance while Providence converted only 3 of 12 from beyond the arc.
Gedaka and Siegrist led Nova with 18 points each. Gedaka pulled down 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. She also handed out 4 assists. Onken had a team-best 5 assists.
Webb led the Friars with 13 points.
It was the final Big East opener for Perretta, but he was more focused on this game.
There is not a lot of time to dwell on this game as Villanova hosts Creighton on Tuesday. Might be a good thing the next game is coming quickly.
“Sometimes that’s actually good,” Perretta said. “Just get to the next game and play. Sometimes it’s good just to do that.”
“We prepare in advance for all of these teams,” Gedaka said. “I think it is a good thing. You can’t be dwelling on a game. Even with winning this game you have to have a next game mentality which is a good thing.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian