The Villanova Wildcats Take Down #23 Oregon State Beavers 56 – 52
VILLANOVA, PA. 12/12/2021 –
The Wildcats pulled off a big win against a big team from a big conference, and did so by doing those little things in a basketball game. Especially in the last few minutes as Villanova held off a late Oregon State rally to win 56 – 52 at the Finneran Pavilion. Nova held Oregon State to their lowest offensive point output of the season matching their total against Michigan. The Wildcats also committed just three turnovers. Even though the Beavers had a big rebounding edge, it did not do damage as the Wildcats held a 9 – 8 edge in second chance points. Little things mean a lot.
“We didn’t get ahead of ourselves, and we didn’t get behind ourselves,” said Villanova Coach Denise Dillon. “They stayed really locked into the possession we were a part of at that time. The touches were crucial. One of those possessions (Brooke) Mullin getting a touch on the pass. Little things like that add up. They mean a lot.”
Most evident was in the last few minutes of the game. Villanova held a 53 – 47 lead on a Maddy Siegrist three-point play at the 5:26 mark. That would be the last basket for the Wildcats as they got three free throws the rest of the way. Oregon State made a charge getting to with a single point at 53 – 52 on an Ellie Mack three-pointer. At the 49 second mark the Beavers went for the lead when forward Kennedy Brown attempted a layup. The shot was blocked by Siegrist. The Beavers turned the ball over in the scramble. Brianna Herlihy made two free throws as 22.5 seconds showed on the clock. Still in proximity Oregon State had a chance. Brooke Mullin disrupted the possession getting a hand on a pass. Mack tried a potential tying three-pointer that missed and Mullin grabbed the rebound. The Beavers did not get another shot.
Neither team shot the ball well. Oregon State made 20 of 60 (33.3%). Nova made less than 30% from the floor and 25% from beyond the arc. The guards for the Beavers went 3 for 24 from the floor. Siegrist provided the offense for the Wildcats scoring 28 points and pulling down 9 rebounds in her second game back from injury. So, give this one to the defense.
“Their posts are great,” said Siegrist. “They’re just big girls. We knew we were going to get outmatched, so we wanted to try and force them off the blocks and make them take tougher shots.”
“We’re just trying to find our identity as a whole, but especially on the defensive end,” said Dillon. “It’s an effort factor. Rebound the ball and play defense is effort and just a connection.”
Also the Wildcats needed to prize each possession. They did by not turning the ball over. Oregon State did 15 times giving Nova a 17 – 0 edge in points off turnovers.
“You don’t realize that when you’re playing,” said Siegrist.
“Against a good team like this you have to capitalize your possessions because we didn’t get a ton of offensive rebounds.”
The Cats got 6 off the offensive glass and got outrebounded 50 – 32. Jelena Mitrovic led Oregon State with a career-high in rebounds with 13 and points with 14 in recording her first double-double of the season. Taya Corosdale grabbed 11 boards while scoring 10 points. On the Nova side Brianna Herlihy took down a career-high 14 rebounds while scoring 10 points.
“It’s an issue for us in general,” Dillon said about rebounding. “Against a big team like Oregon State I knew we would be in trouble, but I felt we put forth effort to give ourselves some extra possessions.”
Mack returned to her home area. The 6′ 3″ guard from Paoli, and graduate of Conestoga High School scored a season-high 11 points making 2 of 4 from distance.
These Wildcats even their record at 5 – 5, and get a win over a nationally-ranked opponent. The team did what they needed to do, and have a signature victory to build upon.
“It’s a really big one for this group,” Dillon said. “They felt good about the matchup. When they have that sense and make a decision to stick to the game plan, and doing what’s necessary to put yourself in a pull off a win.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian