WBB: ‘Nova edged out by No. 5 Rutgers

Allison Venella

In their only game of the week, the Villanova Wildcats took on the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers in a Big East showdown. This same Rutgers team made it to the National Women’s Basketball Championship game last year and proved a tough opponent for Villanova. This year’s Rutgers team is currently ranked No. 5 in the nation, and when the two teams battled this past Saturday, Villanova lost by a score of 63-54.

Villanova knew that Rutgers, lead by highly publicized Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer, would be a tough opponent.

“Rutgers will be a tough game for us, and we are on the road again,” Villanova guard Siobhan O’Connor said before the game.  “They are No. 5 in the country right now and made it to last year’s National Championship game. They are good in every position, and we will have to take care of the ball on offense and not give them any easy scoring opportunities.”

Villanova kept the game close the whole time and only lost by nine points. Outstanding scoring efforts were turned in once again by the trio of forwards, Lisa Karcic, Laura Kurz and Stacie Whitman. Kurz turned in 15 points, with Whitman scoring 14 and Karcic adding 11. These three have combined for the majority of the scoring this season.

Guards Maria Getty, Tia Grant and O’Connor all added to the scoring effort as well. They combined for 14 points, with Getty scoring eight, Grant four and O’Connor two.

Rutgers’ stand outs Epiphanny Prince, Matee Ajavon and Kia Vaughn combined for 49 points, 34 of which came from the paint.

A size difference showed especially in the rebounding advantage Rutgers had over Villanova, out-rebounding the ‘Cats 34-20, with Villanova producing only one offensive grab.

Villanova did keep the game close, even leading at two different points of the game. Rutgers’ scoring drives were too much for the Wildcats to come back against.

“We have lost some tough, close games early on in the Big East, especially to Seton Hall and Syracuse,” O’Connor said. “I think if we can learn from the close losses, we can be successful the rest of the way in the Big East.”

Villanova’s record in the Big East now stands at 2-5. – A.V.