VILLANOVA, PA. 2/2/2020 – The Villanova Wildcats looked to sweep the season series with their Big East New York / North Jersey neighbors. Villanova put themselves in that position winning in overtime against St. John’s on Friday. The Wildcats had a three-point lead with 49.5 seconds to play, but could not hold on losing to Seton Hall 65 – 63 in heartbreaking fashion. This was a ‘Play for Kay’ game.
With 4.3 seconds to play Pirates guard Mya Jackson went to the foul line with her team trailing by a single point. She made the first to knot the game at 63. The second shot was missed. The Wildcats got the rebound, but the ball was broken loose by Shadeen Samuels who got the ball and made a layup with 2 seconds left to win it for Seton Hall. A long three-point attempt by Maddy Siegrist was short as the buzzer.
“If you look at it from a realistic point of view for us to go 3 – 1 against St. John’s and Seton Hall is actually a miracle,” said Villanova Coach Harry Perretta. “The sad part was we were in a position to go 4 – 0 and we lost the game because we did more things to lose the game. That’s the way it goes.”
The Wildcats took the lead and went into the fourth quarter leading 55 – 48. The Pirates switched defenses playing zone. In the fourth quarter Nova made only 1 of 10 field goal attempts, and scored only 8 points.
“We’re not very good playing against the zone,” said Perretta.
Within three minutes Seton Hall took a 57 – 56 lead as Villanova put only one point on the scoreboard.
“If there is a span that we don’t score for three or four minutes they can make up a 6 or 8 points pretty easily,” Perretta said. “You have to keep making shots.”
Nova got back in front with a three-pointer by Kenzie Gardler, their only basket in the final ten minutes. The Hall got a three from Alexis Lewis, their only basket from distance the whole game, going in front 60 – 59 with 4 minutes to play. Lewis had 11 points in the game.
Mary Gedaka, who scored a game-high 26 points one shy of her career-mark, converted two free throws at the 1:27 mark. With 49.5 ticks on the clock Maddy Siegrist, who scored 13 points, made two foul shots to give Nova a 3-point lead.
Samuels, who lead the Pirates with 26 points, got her team in proximity with two free throws with 44 seconds to play. Then the Wildcats missed a three-point attempt which set up the telling sequence of the game.
Villanova drops out of the fourth place tie group in the Big East and now have a 6 – 5 conference record. Seton Hall was also in that group of four and they improve to 7 – 4. Overall Nova is 12 – 10 with their next game, next weekend at Xavier. How will Villanova respond? Time will tell.
Written By: Glenn Papazian