February 3, 2021 –
There are games where the leading players will struggle. During that time every player needs to contribute and do the things needed to win. This was that type of game for Villanova. They gutted it out and posted a 67 – 53 win over Providence in a Wednesday afternoon game at the Finneran Pavilion.
“It wasn’t a solid performance across the board, but I was proud of them finding a way,” said Villanova Coach Denise Dillon. “Every win is a great win and this one we can learn a lot from and build from.”
Of the 11 players who saw game action; 8 had at least and assist, 10 pulled down a rebound, 5 stole the ball, and all but one took a shot. And everyone contributed in some way.
Wildcats leading scorer Maddy Siegrist was in foul trouble for most of the game and it limited her to 9 points. Briana Herlihy was also on the bench with fouls. Other players needed to step up and Villanova got the effort from Lior Garzon who scored 15 points, 11 in the first half. Sarah Mortensen added a team-high 18 points and 8 rebounds. But it was the defense that kept Providence from mounting a serious charge.
“If we didn’t focus as much as we did on the defensive end, it would have been a different story,” Dillon said. “We had plenty of stretches where we were struggling offensively. When you top scorer is struggling it could be a long night. I was really pleased with the defensive effort. I can only think we’re learning, we’re growing.”
The Friars got a big effort from Alyssa Geary who scored a game-high 22 points, but the Nova defense allowed 32.7% shooting (18 of 55) and just 2 buckets from three-point land.
This contest turned in the Wildcats direction in the second quarter. Nova won the second twenty minutes 20 – 8 to get control. Key to that was a 15 – 0 run in the stanza with Siegrist and Herlihy not on the floor. The offense was highlighted by Garzon. It was the turning point.
“It was really big for the younger players to see what they are capable of,” said Dillon. “I think they really played nice team basketball. It’s tough to guard when we’re moving the ball, setting screens, and honing in on the defensive end. We gave Lior a big assignment by guarding the bigs who were getting position and fouls, and she stepped up to the challenge. Sarah Mortensen had a tremendous game all around. It’s team game and it showed that we have some weapons.”
Villanova improves to 11 – 3 overall and 6 – 3 in the Big East sitting solidly in fifth-place.
Written By: Glenn Papazian