Princeton Defense Keys a 59 – 42 Win Over Villanova
VILLANOVA, PA. 11/10/2021 –
The season opener for the Villanova Wildcats women’s basketball team. A game against the Ivy League powerhouse Princeton Tigers at the Finneran Pavilion. Last season the Wildcats would go to the Elite Eight of the WNIT. For Princeton it has been 613 days since they have played a basketball game.
New season, new teams, and this one goes to the Tigers 59 – 42.
Each team would need the defense to carry the day. Not a stellar offensive performance on either side. It took three and a half minutes for the first points of the game to be scored. Overall, Princeton shot 34.9% (22 of 63) and made 4 of 11 from deep. But Villanova hit at a 26.3% clip and sank 5 of 22 from beyond the arc.
“I didn’t it was a great flow,” said Villanova Coach Denise Dillon about the team’s offense. “I thought we abandoned what we were looking to do, but trying to create our own look instead of setting and using screens consistently, moving the ball, moving ourselves. We got knocked off the mark a little bit and the ball would stick. When you’re trying to create with that ball pressure, there were not the clean looks we want.”
In the critical second quarter, Villanova made only 1 of 13 shots, a three-pointer from guard Brooke Mullin. The shooting in the quarter made the hill too steep to climb for the Cats. The Tigers scored 20 in that stanza and took a 30 – 20 lead at halftime after trailing 16 – 10 after the first quarter.
“I don’t think they gave us the looks we wanted,” Dillon said about the low shooting percentage in the quarter. “A lot were rushed, and even around the basket. We were getting looks around the basket, but we weren’t even knocking them down.”
Nova cut the gap to single digits in the latter twenty minutes, but Princeton had an answer. Guard Abby Meyers set a a career-high with 21 points. Meyers also pulled down 9 rebounds, another collegiate-best.
“I thought we came out a little suspect at the beginning of the game, but we found ourselves and communicated well and play the defense we were capable of playing,” said Princeton Coach Carla Berube. “Then Abby Meyers got hot in the second half. I’m really happy to come out with a win tonight.”
Maddy Siegrist scored 10 points making 5 of 17 from the floor, and pulled down 9 rebounds. However, she turned the ball over 8 times. Brianna Herlihy would lead the Wildcats with12 points.
“We are always going to rely on our defense,” Berube said. “I didn’t think it was going to be a ninety to eighty score. I thought Grace Stone did a really awesome job on Maddy Siegrist. Though it was a team effort, it seemed like Grace was on her a lot and did a really great job.”
Five new players got playing time for Nova. Freshman guard Lucy Olsen netted 7 points in her initial college game.
“You have some freshman in there, but they’re out there,” said Dillon. “They’re going to get experience quickly, and we need them all ready to go. Good lesson for sure, tough lesson.”
It is a quick turnaround for Villanova as their next game is Friday on the road to face the fourth ranked Maryland Terrapins.
Written By: Glenn Papazian