PHILADELPHIA, PA. 12/20/2107 – It is holiday time. It’s exam time. There are plenty of distractions for a collegiate athlete. However, a Big Five game is attention getting for each team. It took Villanova a quarter to get going, but did behind 20 points from sophomore guard Kelly Jekot, her third twenty-point game of the season, defeating the La Salle Explorers 76 – 49 at the Gola Arena. The #18/20 Wildcats stay undefeated at 10 – 0 this season their best start since the 1979-80 season.
“A Big Five game always gets your attention,” said Villanova Coach Harry Perretta. “It’s the last game before Christmas, you’re undefeated, and you want to try to keep that going.”
La Salle appeared ready to go and had a 16 – 14 lead after one. However, with two and half minutes remaining in the opening quarter the Explorers lost leading scorer Amy Griffin to an apparent lower right leg injury. The offense sputtered after that.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats found buckets with Jekot and ‘the bigs’ going to the basket. She had 15 first half points making 7 of 9 from the floor.
“In the beginning of the game we were not running our offense to the fullest,” Jekot said. “Our coaches said we would have to run our cuts and screens fully, and we would get more points that way.”
Turnovers continue to plague La Salle as they had 15 for the game which led to a 23 – 6 advantage for Villanova in points off turnovers.
“In the second and third quarters we played our best defense,” said Jekot. “Those were the two quarters that set us apart.”
The Cats outscores the Explorers 22 – 8 in the second quarter and 26 – 9 in the third.
Forward Alex Louin and guard Adrianna Hahn added 13 points for Nova. Forward Bridget Herlihy scored 12 points.
For LSU guard Adreana Miller scored 18 points, 2 shy of her season-high.
The Wildcats are 3 – 0 in Big Five play and have one more game in which to wrap up the city title. Nova goes into Big East play next travelling to Creighton on December 30.
“I told the kids the worst we can do is tie for the Big Five title,” Perretta said. “That’s always a good thing when you win three Big Five games.”
La Salle (5 – 7) is 1 – 2 in the Big Five, and Atlantic 10 play is next when the Explorers host the Dayton Flyers on December 31.
Written By: Glenn Papazian