VILLANOVA, PA. 12/29/2018 – The Villanova Wildcats opened conference play hosting the Butler Bulldogs at Finneran Pavilion, but came out on the losing end 63 – 55.
Butler utilized their inside game, especially in the fourth quarter,as the difference. Forward Tori Schickel scored a game-high 22 points, 14 in the second half, making 10 of 15 from the field. When the Bulldogs needed points, the ball got inside which was tough for the Wildcats to stop. Their points in the paint advantage was 38 – 12.
“It was the difference down the stretch,” said Villanova Coach Harry Perretta. “They came down and throw the ball inside. We double, they kick it and they hit a dagger three on us down the stretch. If they don’t score, she (Schickel) scores. That’s the difference.”
For Villanova to pull out the win, they would need three-point baskets. They would get 11, just 2 in the fourth quarter. Perretta figured 15 to be the magic number from beyond the arc. It would have been close. Still, the Cats were able to take a 30 – 28 lead at intermission. The lead would grow to 44 – 33 in the third quarter. Nova would have 15 assists on their 18 made baskets.
“We executed well in spurts,” Perretta said. “We ran the offense pretty decently, but we didn’t make them shots down the stretch when we needed to.”
The Wildcats took a 54 – 53 lead with 3:45 to play in the game. Tucker hit a shot from beyond the arc. That would be the last basket for the hosts. A Hahn free throw would be their only further score. With just under two and a half minutes left Michelle Weaver hit that dagger three which gave the lead back to the Bulldogs that they never relinquished.
On defense Butler gives up an average of 51.8 points per game. Villanova exceeded that number, but not by enough. Adrianna Hahn led the Cats with 16 points and Jannah Tucker added 15, a season-high. The offense wore down in the fourth quarter as Nova would score 8 points.
Butler (11 – 1, 1 – 0) leads the conference rebounding margin getting an average of 8.5 more boards per game. The Bulldogs won the rebounding battle 46 – 24. Forward Shae Brey took down a game-high and career-high tying 12 rebounds.
Villanova (8 – 3, 0 – 1) returns to the floor hosting Xavier on Monday in an afternoon game.
Written By: Glenn Papazian