February 16, 2021 –
The Villanova Wildcats women’s basketball team returned to the court after a 13-day pause due to COVID-19 issues. They came back in a big way with a big start and earned a 98 – 74 win over the Butler Bulldogs at the Finneran Pavilion in their highest offensive scoring total this season. And the Wildcats needed that type of start.
“It was important,” said senior forward Brianna Herlihy. “When we play teams that have been on a pause we want to jump out early because they have been out of practice. We thought it was important that we turn the tables and make sure we jumped on them early. We didn’t see any signs of slowing down because of the pause. It was something we emphasized before the game. I’m glad we were able to execute that.”
How fast a start? Villanova led 67 – 26 at halftime. It was the most points scored in a half, and the most points the team scored in the first and second quarters of the season. The Cats drained 16 of their 17 three-pointers in the first half, and were one shy of a program record for made threes. The total made from beyond the arc represented the most made three-pointers in a single game and their highest shooting percentage at 47.2% from distance this season. In the first half they made 62% of the long shots.
In the game Villanova made 33 of 62 from the field for 53.2%. Playing team basketball Nova had 28 assists, tying a season-best, on 33 baskets. Almost everyone who played registered an assist.
“We’re not just a bunch of individuals,” Herlihy said. “We are playing as a team, running the offense, and executing. That makes the game go so much smoother and makes everyone play for each other.”
It is hard to keep that intensity over a full game with having such a big lead. The Bulldogs were able to dig in winning the second half 48 – 31.
Both team turned the ball over 17 times. Villanova made Butler pay for their mistakes having a 21 – 8 advantage in points off turnovers.
Maddy Siegrist led the way with 24 points, her 10th game this season scoring 20 or more points. The 5 made from three-point land represented a season-best. Herlihy scored 16 points and pulled down a team-high 8 rebounds. Lior Garzon added 17 points while Sarah Mortensen contributed 16 points. Guard Kenzie Gardler handed out a collegiate-best 6 assists.
Two players broke double-digits in scoring. Okako Adika led the team with 19 points. Upe Atosu had 15 points for Butler (1 – 15, 1 – 14).
This the second win over the Bulldogs for the Wildcats who improve to 12 – 3 overall and holds fourth place in the Big East with a 7 – 3 record. Villanova faces third-place Marquette Friday on the road
Written By: Glenn Papazian