Women’s Basketball: Wildcats capture Odwalla Classic title

Allison Venella

The women’s basketball team traveled to sunny San Francisco for the Odwalla Classic Thanksgiving Tournament during Thanksgiving Break. Last Friday evening, the Wildcats opened the tournament with a record-breaking win over South Alabama by a score of 83-58. In the championship game, the team beat host San Francisco in overtime, 73-70, to claim the Odwalla Classic Title.

“The wins this weekend were really big for us,” junior Laura Kurz said. “The Big East is incredibly tough this year, and we played two good teams this weekend. It was a good test for us to see where we are at this point in the season.”

In the first game of the Classic, the Wildcats came out ready for the win. Senior Stacie Witman scored a career-high 36 points on her way to tying the school record with nine 3-pointers in the game. The team matched another school record by hitting 18 3-pointers in one game. The unstoppable forwards senior Lisa Karcic, Kurz and Witman combined for 76 of the 83 points scored by the Wildcats.

Kurz and Karcic scored 20 points each, while Karcic notched five assists, and Kurz pulled down 12 rebounds for a double-double.

In the first half, the South Alabama Jaguars stayed close, keeping the score 24-21 early in the game, but the duo of Witman and Karcic were already well on their way to giving the Wildcats they push they needed to sprint ahead.

Witman spurred an 8-0 Villanova run in the middle of the first half after she scored a layup and then hit back-to-back 3-pointers. Villanova scored 14 unanswered points just before halftime to take the lead to 45-28.

Witman scored the first 13 points of the second half and surpassed the 30-point mark soon after. The trio of forwards scored the first 60 points of the game.

Sophomore Maria Getty added five points, and freshman Amanda Swiezynski added a basket. Guards Getty, sophomore Tia Grant and junior Siobhan O’Connor combined for 10 assists in the game.

The win over South Alabama marked the second time in the first five games that Witman has scored over 30 points in a contest.

In the race for the title of the Odwalla Classic Thanksgiving Tournament, the Dons of San Francisco challenged the team. Villanova won in overtime, 73-70, but it was not without a fight.

Villanova came out slow in the beginning of the game, going only 4-13 in the first half of the game. The Wildcats trailed most of the game, unable to stop the Dons’ scoring drive.

At the half, Villanova was behind 26-23 after going scoreless for a five-minute period. Slow offensive efforts for the Wildcats allowed the lead to escape their possession.

However, a 15-5 scoring drive helped the Wildcats get back into the game. Kurz started the run. She scored 25 points on the game while pulling down 15 boards.

At the end of regulation, a 3-pointer from Getty, one of her four in the contest, and a layup by Kurz put Villanova up with 1:51 left in regulation. The Wildcats almost won the game in regulation, after O’Connor drained a 3 to put the Wildcats up again. But the Dons answered back with a buzzer-beater layup to push the game into overtime.

The Wildcats were able to fend off the Dons, with Getty scoring a career-high 17 points and a team-high four 3-pointers in the game. Karcic added 13 points, and Witman added nine with both forwards pulling down eight rebounds each.

“The second game was especially good because we proved to ourselves that we can come from behind – we were down 10 points in the second half – and win,” Kurz said. “Just being able to pull together was really big for us.”

Kurz was named Most Valuable Player of the Odwalla Tournament. Kurz along with Karcic and Witman combined for 123 points in the tournament and helped the team win its seventh Thanksgiving Tournament championship in nine years. Along with Kurz, Karcic and Witman were both honored by earning a spot on the All-Tournament Team.

Kurz was also selected as Big East Player of the Week after she went 17-25 from the field, averaging 22.5 points per game with 10.5 rebounds. With the win against South Alabama, she earned her first career double-double.

“I think we are starting to finally gel is a team, and we are starting to understand our roles,” Kurz said. “We still have a long way to go and a lot of things to improve on, but we feel good about being 4-1 at this point in the season.”

The Wildcats returned home after playing the first five games of their season on the road with the home opener yesterday against the Lady Stags of Fairfield.