Junior Forward Lindsay Kimmel scored a team-high 12 points, but it did not match De Paul who had three scorers in double figures as the #14 Blue Demons take a 64 – 45 win over the Wildcats at the Pavilion. Villanova was able to stay in contention with De Paul in the second half, but Coach Harry Perretta knew trying to match De Paul basket for basket is not something he wanted his team to do.
“The difference is we can’t sustain offense,” said Perretta. “If we can’t stop our opponents from scoring, it becomes an offensive slug match, then we have virtually no chance to win.”
Villanova got off to a slow start as they made two of their first eleven shots. The third Wildcat field goal was a three-pointer by Sophomore Forward Megan Pearson with 9:48 on the clock. De Paul led 21 – 8 at that time as the Blue Demons made 9 of their first 12 shots. Villanova began to match De Paul in scoring, led by 7 straight points by Pearson, cutting the gap to 10 at 31 – 21 on a three by Kimmel. De Paul took a 33 – 21 lead in to halftime as the Blue Demons shot 55.6% (15-27) and made 3 of 6 from beyond the arc. Villanova converted 8 of 27 field goal attempts and made 4 of 11 three-pointers.
“In the first half we were able to get some stops,” Perretta said. “There was a stretch in the first half when we stopped them on eight possessions, and we hit a couple of shots to get back into the game.”
In the second half Villanova was able to play on the offense end with De Paul. Villanova trailed 50 – 40 with 9:10 to play. However, the Wildcats could not stop the De Paul offense. The Blue Demons pulled away late by making close in baskets (14 Points in the Paint) and owning a 23 – 9 rebounding advantage in the second half, 9 – 1 on the offensive end.
“Their big kids are very good,” Perretta said about the De Paul front line. “In the second half, they started to exert themselves.”
Villanova got 8 points from Sophomore Guard Rachel Roberts and 7 from Pearson.
De Paul was led in scoring by Forward Keisha Hampton with a game-high 20 points and 7 rebounds. Forward Katherine Harry scored 14 points and grabbed 7 rebounds, and Forward Felicia Chester had 13 points to go along with 6 rebounds.
De Paul has won 14 of their last 15 games improving to 17 – 2 on the season, 5 – 0 in the Big East. Villanova drops to 8 – 9 overall and are 0 – 4 in conference. Providence visits the Pavilion on January 19. Villanova has played a tough Big East schedule to this point. They have improved, but it might be hard to see.
“Now we are playing against such quality opponents, you don’t notice it,” Perretta said. “We played four Big East games against teams in the top 20,and three were in the top 10. Sometimes it looks like you’re not playing better.”
Key Run in the Game
It happened at the start of the game when De Paul hit 9 of the first 12 shots and Villanova missed 9 of their first 11 shots. The Blue Demons went out to a 21 – 5 lead with 10:18 remaining in the half. Villanova made a comeback to stay in the game twice cutting the gap to 10 points, but they could not overcome the run at the start that gave De Paul control of the game.
Key Stat of the Game
De Paul out-rebounded Villanova 38 – 25, and 13 – 9 on the offensive glass. Most of the rebounding advantage for De Paul came in the second half where the edge was 23 – 9, 9 – 1 in offensive rebounding. The rebounds kept Villanova from getting valuable possessions.
Also noted was De Paul led in Points in the Paint by a 26 – 8 margin.
Key Players in the Game
For Villanova – Forward Megan Pearson who scored 7 points in a stretch in the first half that cut a 21 – 5 deficit to 23 – 12 for Villanova. The gap did not increase greatly until the end of the game. Pearson added 3 assists.
For De Paul – Forward Keisha Hampton who scored a game-high 20 points, and added 7 rebounds and 4 assists.
Point Where the Game Was Decided
Villanova fought back to get to within 10 at 50 – 40 with 9:11 to play. De Paul answered with a 12 – 2 run culminating with a jump shot by Forward Katherine Harry that gave the Blue Demons a 62 – 42 lead with 2:40 on the clock.
Thoughts and Musings
Villanova is improving as a team. Perretta runs a complicated offense that takes time to learn. It has been a slow process, but it is beginning to take root.
“Our number of quality shots has gone up, our turnovers have gone down,” said Perretta. “Are there enough quality shots? No, but we are getting more now than early in the season.”
Perretta believes that measurable of improvement may not come this season as the team needs more experience, especially at the guard position. The key guards for Villanova are Sophomores Rachel Roberts and Jesse Carey. Devon Kane is a red shirt freshman. The most experienced guard is Junior Sarah Jones. They will need to learn the lessons their coach and their season will teach them. That is their goal.
Written By: Glenn Papazian