Villanova Wins a Matinee In Overtime

Villanova Gets a 53 – 51 Big East Win Over Georgetown

VILLANOVA, PA. 1/10/2024 –

An 11:30 AM start to allow local school students a field trip and a chance to see a game. And they got five extra minutes as Villanova Wildcats found a way to win 53 – 51 over the Georgetown Hoyas. The win snaps an eight-game road winning streak by the Hoyas. Wildcats guard Lucy Olsen led the way with a game-high 28 points, and provided the winning point at the free throw line as 5.4 seconds showed on the clock. A low scoring game that featured defense.

“As expected we knew it would be a defensive battle and it certainly was,” said Villanova Coach Denise Dillon. “Really pleased with our commitment to staying with it on the defensive end, finding ways to get the ball back, and pulling out a real tough win.”

End of the Game

The Wildcats started slow, but took the lead in the second quarter and held it until Graceann Bennett tied the game for the Hoyas 2:55 remaining. Neither team would score in regulation from there. Villanova had a chance at the buzzer when guard Bella Runyan got the ball off a turnover, drove the lane, but her layup went around the rim and out. Nova survived scoring just 4 points in the fourth quarter.

In the overtime Olsen scored all but one of the nine Wildcats points. Bennett put Georgetown ahead 47 – 46, but Olsen answered immediately with two free throws with 2:37 to play. No team would score until Hoyas forward Mya Bembry converted a turnover into a basket and a 49 – 48 advantage. Olsen responded 10 seconds later with a jumper giving Nova a one-point lead. Bembry tied it with 11.7 seconds on the clock, but she missed a free throw. Again, it was Olsen who got the the foul line and made the first shot at the 5.4 second mark.

“I was trying to be strong with the ball,” said Olsen about the deciding possession. “I didn’t want to turn it over, just take whatever they were giving. If someone was open for the shot, find them. That came in a really good pass at the end.”

Georgetown got the ball, but forward Brianna Scott traveled on the way to the basket. Kaitlyn Orihel made a free throw for the final point of the game as 2.5 seconds remained. Hoyas guard Kelsey Ransom had one last chance as she let a three-pointer go after passing the midcourt line. The ball bounced off the rim. Nova survived a game requiring focus and intensity.

“Our shots weren’t falling,” Olsen said. “We were getting some good shots. We can always control the defensive end. We were trying to stay locked in, communicate, get the stop. Then we’ll focus on the next possession after.”

Defense, Defense, Defense Both Ways

Villanova came into the game giving up 45 points to both Xavier and Seton Hall. Georgetown entered leading the league in scoring defense at 51.8 per game which ranked seventh in the nation. Points would be at a premium. Neither team allowed the other to pull away on offense. The Wildcats made just over 31% from the floor and three-point line, similar to the Hoyas.

The Little Things Mattered

On defense Villanova made 10 steals while Georgetown swiped 4 balls. The Cats had an edge in blocked shots swatting 9 to 6 for the Hoyas. Turnover totals favored the Wildcats 19 – 10 that lead to a 14 – 6 advantage in points off turnovers. In a game this close, those little things mattered.

“Just the importance of all of the little things in practice and being more attentive to it,” Dillon explained. “They obviously add up to big things and take care of the results at the end.”

“The fundamentals of the game can do great things for teams. We have to bring that all together.”

What the Numbers Say

Olsen scored her points on 11 of 27 shooting, 2 of 4 from beyond the arc, and 4 of 7 free throw attempts. She pulled down a team-high 9 rebounds, tying a season-high. The junior guard added 2 assists and 3 steals.

No other Villanova player would score in double-figures. Runyan would fill the stat sheet with 8 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocked shots, tying a season-high, and 2 steals.

Orihel also scored 8 points making 3 of 6 from the floor and one three-pointer. The junior guard also had a steal and a block. Orihel is becoming a contributing player, one the Wildcats will need.

“No one knows more what we are doing and why more than Kaitlyn Orihel,” Dillon said.

Georgetown had three players score in double-digits led by Bennett with 13 points, and she added 9 rebounds. Scott also contributed 13 points and pulled down a career-best 13 caroms. she blocked 4 shots. Guard Alex Cowan scored 11 points, making 3 of 6 from distance. Ransom, the season leading scorer for the Hoyas was limited to 8 points converting only 3 of 19 field goal attempts, but did have a game-high 7 assists.

Villanova won the last eight consecutive games over Georgetown.

Up Next

Georgetown falls to 12 – 4 for the season and is 2 – 3 in the league. They will go to Providence in a week.

Villanova improves to 10 – 5 and currently is tied with St. John’s for second place in the Big East at 3 – 1. UConn is presently 4 – 0. The Wildcats travel for a Saturday game against Butler next.


Written By: Glenn Papazian


Villanova Active on Defense

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