PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/18/2017 – The city rivals take a break from conference play. Break is not the proper term as the Villanova Wildcats and University of Pennsylvania Quakers met in a Big Five contest, not a respite by any means. In the end a strong third quarter offensive performance by Villanova guard Adrianna Hahn propelled the Wildcats to a 60 – 48 win over the Quakers at the Palestra
Hahn scored a game-high 23 points, all after intermission, 7 of 10 from the floor, 3 of 5 from beyond the arc, and converting all 6 of her free throws. It was the seventh twenty-point game of the year for Hahn.
“In the second half I had to be more confident and look to score,” Hahn said about her second half turn around.
“I wasn’t playing the type of basketball I am capable of playing. I knew I needed to take control and be confident. My teammates helped me as well. ”
It was the expected battle in the first half as the teams went into halftime tied at 23. Coaches Harry Perretta and Mike McLaughlin matched each other’s plan; strategize and adjust, change, and readjust.
After intermission the battle lines were drawn. Villanova got the ball to Hahn who either found the basket or shot the three. The sophomore from Delaware had the first 9 points of the quarter for the Cats.
Penn got the ball inside to Sydney Stipanovich or Michelle Nwokedi who combined for 8 third quarter points. With 6:03 to play in the third quarter Villanova held a 32 – 31. Baskets by Hahn and forward Megan Quinn gave the Wildcats a 36 – 32 lead, but Penn point guard Casey Chambers made it a one-point game with a three at the 2:58 mark. That would be the last field goal for the Red and Blue until there was 2:08 left in the fourth quarter when guard Anna Ross nailed a three that ended a 17 – 6 Villanova run.
“They made a couple of shots and I don’t think we handled that well,” said Penn Coach Mike McLaughlin about the Nova spurt. “We didn’t get into any transition, early offense. We tried but we became very methodical coming down the floor. They defended us solid and we couldn’t score.”
Quinn scored 18 points behind a game and season high 4 made three-pointers. Alex Louin scored 7 points and dished out a game-best 5 assists to go along with 6 rebounds. Mary Gedaka pulled down which tied her career-high established in the last game against St. John’s.
“We wanted Adrianna to split their defense and force them to help so we could start dishing the ball to other people and get easier shots,” Villanova Coach Harry Perretta said about the second half game plan. “By her doing that it opened the floor.”
Penn was led by Ross who had 12 points, half of them from distance. Stipanovich contributed 11 points.
The Wildcats had 1.034 points per possession compared to .828 for the Quakers.
Villanova evens their season record at 9 – 9, winning 5 of the last 6 games, and get ready for a road game at Butler. The Wildcats are 3 – 1 in the Big Five and trail Temple by a game in the city series. The Owls will play Penn next week. If they stumble, the Cherry and White will share the city crown with the Blue and White. Penn is 9 – 5 overall and are looking for their initial Big Five win of the season. Their six-game winning streak comes to an end.
Written By: Glenn Papazian