Three-Pointers Fall In Second Half In Win Over Duke
VILLANOVA, PA. 11/19/2017 – A little bit of the old school and a bit of the new. The Villanova Wildcats women’s basketball team returned to the Jake Nevin Field House to host the #11 Blue Devils of Duke. The Field House will be the home for the team this season while construction is being done at the Pavilion.
All the pieces were in place for an exciting afternoon of basketball. And there was more excitement at the end when Villanova upset Duke 64 – 55. It was the highest-ranked team the Wildcats defeated since January 9, 2005 when they beat #4 Notre Dame. Sophomore guard Kelly Jekot led Nova with a career-high 23 points making 7 three-pointers, another individual mark. Senior guard Alex Louin added 17 points.
“Our guards got me the ball where I needed it,” said Jekot. “That was a big help.”
“We knew going into the game we had to make three’s,” Villanova Coach Harry Perretta said. “We got forty of them up there, and in the second half we made fifty percent. That’s what we needed to do. We had to generate three’s and we shot them very well in the second half.”
It was a tale of two halves. Early in the game the Wildcats could not make shots. Of the 30 that went up only 7 went in. Three point shooting is critical for the Cats and they converted only 5 of 20 from beyond the arc. In the third quarter that changed dramatically as the Wildcats made 7 of 13, Jekot converting 3 of 4. It was Duke who could not find the bottom of the rim making 4 of 12. Villanova won the quarter 26 – 8.
“I thought we got decent ball movement in the first half,” said Perretta. “Not as good as the second half, but we got enough shots to stay in the game. We were lucky to be in the game at halftime. When you start making shots, the defense makes mistakes, you pass the ball better, and you feel more confident.”
“Three-point shooting, that should not be a factor in the game,” said Duke Coach Joanne McCallie. “They had 7 more assists and 7 less turnovers, that’s were the game was won.”
For the game the Wildcats made 15 three’s, Duke had 2.
Nova trailed by 6 at halftime. The Blue Devils got the first basket of the half, then the Wildcats responded with a 23 – 4 run boosted by three from beyond the arc by Jekot. The lead switched to the hosts on a four-point play by Louin, and it stayed there, the only lead change of the game.
“That was a huge play for me as I hadn’t been shooting well,” Louin said. “The four-point play gave me the confidence to keep shooting the three.”
Duke was not finished, but with 2:15 to play the Wildcats pulled down two offensive rebounds and kept possession for nearly a minute.
Villanova begins anew in the Field House, and it is an excellent start. More excitement to come in an atmosphere like this. And the younger players want to make it special for the seniors.
Written By: Glenn Papazian