‘Cats capture home win

Kate McAvey

After four road games, the women’s basketball team tasted victory on their home court last Sunday, as it conquered the Lehigh Mountain Hawks 58-52. Senior Laura Kurz took advantage of playing in front of the Villanova fans by dominating on the court and impressing the crowd. She posted a double-double for the second straight game, scoring 19 points on 7-for-15 shooting, to go along with a career-high 15 rebounds and three blocks.

The Wildcats were on fire right from the tip-off, opening the game with a 23-7 run and never trailing. Although ‘Nova started out with a hefty lead, the Mountain Hawks put up a fight and kept challenging the ‘Cats to stay on top. In the last six minutes, the Mountain Hawks closed the gap to within three points of Villanova five different times. The Wildcats secured the win, however, by making five consecutive free throws in the game’s final minute.

With 5:44 remaining, Kurz sank two free throws, giving the ‘Cats a 45-39 lead. After nailing the two free throws, the Mountain Hawks responded by scoring on five of their next six possessions. But the potential for a late-game comeback was crushed after Kurz hit back-to-back shots. Senior Siobhan O’Connor followed up with the eighth of her 11 points.

With just over three minutes on the clock, an easy layup brought Lehigh to within three, but two consecutive offensive rebounds and a jumper from O’Connor regained the Wildcats’ five-point cushion.

Villanova’s largest lead came in the first half. The Wildcats were aided by Lehigh’s poor shooting performance, as it started the game just 2-for-18 from the field. The Wildcats drained the net from all over, led by 3-pointers from sophomore Amanda Swiezynski and O’Connor toward the end of the first half to give them a 23-7 lead.

Before the teams headed to the locker room, the Mountain Hawks cut the Villanova lead to five at 26-21. They shot 7-for-14 after the 6:30 mark with a 9-0 run before the break.

For the Wildcats, eight different players played at least 10 minutes and scored at least three points. Junior Maria Getty contributed seven points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals in 35 minutes. Junior Tia Grant and Swiezyniski each had three assists and the entire Wildcat squad combined for a season-low six turnovers.

Part of the team’s success came from an effective night at the free- throw line, sinking eight of 10.

With their next five games at the Pavilion, the Wildcats will try to continue winning at home. The team will take on the Temple Owls at 1 p.m. on Dec. 20.