WBB: ‘Cats drop third round of NIT Tournament Tournamen



Allison Venella

The women’s basketball team’s season came to an abrupt end on March 27, with a loss on the road at Colorado in the third round of the NIT tournament. Villanova led the Buffaloes for the majority of the game, but in the final two minutes of the game, the lead slipped away. Colorado moved on to the fourth round of the tournament, beating Villanova 64-58.

In what was the last game of her Villanova career, standout senior Stacie Witman scored a team-high 20 points and pulled down six rebounds. She ended her career with 911 total points, averaging 14.1 points per contest this year.

The teams were pretty evenly matched on paper, with their records virtually the same.

Villanova shot 7-of-13 on 3-pointers in the first half, with Witman scoring 13 of her 20 points to give Villanova the early advantage. After Witman knocked down three 3s in a row, sophomore Tia Grant added one of her own to give the Wildcats a lead of 33-22 with less than five minutes remaining in the first half.

Villanova seemed to have the early advantage, taking a 35-28 lead into halftime after shooting 60.9 percent in the first half. Colorado only shot 33 percent on the game.

Sophomore Maria Getty added 15 points, with 12 of them coming in the second half. She also pulled down six rebounds and was the only Wildcat to score in the last seven minutes of the game, when she tallied five.

Villanova’s defense and offense collapsed as Colorado’s Jackie McFarland and Brittney Spears went on a shooting spree that cost Villanova the game.

Junior Laura Kurz added nine points and pulled down eight boards for the team.

Witman remarked that her favorite part of the season were the wins that sent the team to Colorado for the third round of the tournament.

“My favorite game so far was when we beat American in the final seconds … and then it was our win against Wisconsin and upsetting them in their gym and heading into the third round,” she said.

She also commented on the confidence that winning in the postseason has given her teammates.

“Extending our postseason really made our team grow, and it has also given my younger teammates more confidence for their upcoming seasons,” she said.

The ’07-’08 season proved to be a successful one. The team ended with a 17-16 record, along with trips to both the Big East and NIT tournaments.

Villanova’s overall record last season was only 8-21, so the turnaround this year has been a major stride in returning the program to its status as a major threat in the Big East. This year’s team won 12 non-conference games, as well as winning the pre-season tournament in San Francisco.

Highlights of this season also came as Villanova set a new NCAA and Villanova record for 3-pointers scored in a season. The team made 326 3-pointers in 33 games for a total of 978 points from behind the arc. The team averaged 9.9 3s per game, which set a new NCAA single-season record.

The accomplishments of this team will be remembered next season as Villanova will return four starters. Next years seniors – Lisa Karcic, Kurz, Siobhan O’Connor and Briana Weiss – will look to build upon their game experiences this season.

This season also marked the eighth time in the past nine years that the women’s basketball team has made it to a postseason tournament.

Although the presence of Witman will be missed, she said she has confidence her team will grow from this season.

“Winning has been the best part [of the season] – showing people we are better than 15 wins and also showing people that nothing can hold us back,” she said.