Women’s Basketball: ‘Cats beat Penn by 40

Allison Venella

After a fantastic week of basketball, the Wildcats have won five in a row, first beating the Lady Stags of Fairfield 51-45 in the season home opener and then the Quakers of UPenn 66-26.

“We’re off to a great start, and we will build off of our early confidence going into a tough Big East schedule,” red-shirt freshman Shannon Elliott said regarding the beginning of the season.

Confidence was high against Fairfield, but both teams came out slow. Villanova missed its first eight of 11 shots on the game. The score was 21-20 at halftime, with junior forward Laura Kurz leading the way with 16 points in the first half. Junior Siobhan O’Connor drained a 3-pointer, and junior Briana Weiss notched a layup to round out ‘Nova’s scoring in the first half.

Fairfield missed its last six scoring attempts of the first half to keep the game close at the break.

Villanova came out strong in the second half to gain the lead. The Cats held the Stags at bay during an 18-5 run and only allowed them to score one basket in a span of 12 minutes. Fairfield never came back, and Villanova went on to score 11 points to be up by 10 with two minutes left. After a series of foul shots, Villanova won the game 51-45.

Junior Lisa Karcic scored her 12 points in the second half, and Kurz added nine more to take her total to 25 with 10 rebounds to record yet another double-double on the season.

O’Connor recorded five points, senior Stacie Witman recorded a game-high four assists and the team recorded a season-high nine assists in the contest.

“We have been given many opportunities to run all of our plays, work out the kinks and perfect them,” Elliott said. “We’re really starting to gel as a team,”

There were not many kinks in the second game of the week against the Quakers of UPenn. Villanova scored 13 3-pointers, red-shirt freshman Elliott earned her first colligate start and forwards Witman and Karcic combined for 39 as ‘Nova won 66-26.

“It was great being able to start on Saturday against Penn,” Elliott said. “I’m happy that I was able to contribute to the team.”

Even though Villanova only shot 51 percent on the game, there was no doubt in the outcome of the game as UPenn was held to 26 points, shooting only 24 percent. Villanova held the Quakers to the fewest points scored in a game by an opponent since 1979.

Villanova outscored its opponent 14-2 in the first minutes of the game and held UPenn scoreless during an 11-minute period in between the two halves. The defense had quick hands, as UPenn turned over the ball 19 times

Witman notched 22 points, while fellow forward Karcic added 17. Kurz and Weiss each drilled six. Elliot added two baskets as well as two rebounds and two blocked shots in her first start for the team.

When asked about the knowledgeable upperclassmen and their impact on the court during the impressive win streak, Elliott said, “Having them on the floor makes us all feel a little more comfortable because they are so experienced and really know how to run our offense. They all possess great leadership skills and provide direction on the floor.”