WBB: Free throws key to Big 5 victory

Michael Zipf

After losing one’s previous outing by 23 points, heading into another tough environment is normally a daunting task. However, the women’s basketball team rose to the occasion and captured a 57-50 victory over cross-town rival Penn. More impressively, the Wildcats were able to defeat the Quakers without recording a field goal during the last 11 minutes of the game.

Prior to the season, captains Jackie Adamshick and Stacie Whitman stressed the importance of helping out the younger players and guiding them along as they matured.

“As captains, it’s our responsibility to ensure that the young players are ready to play and understand the system,” Adamshick said in an interview on “‘Nova Nation All-Access.”

Sound performances from sophomore Lisa Karcic and red-shirt freshman Maria Getty, who led the team in scoring with 19 points and 16 points respectively, indicate that many of the younger players are capitalizing on Adamshick and Whitman’s guidance. Karcic’s 19-point and 11-rebound performance was her second double-double in the last three games. In the game’s early moments, Penn was able to maintain control, building a five-point lead; however, a 3-pointer by Karcic with 8:16 left in the first half gave the Wildcats the lead which they never relinquished.

The Wildcats opened up their biggest lead of the game with 11:22 left in the second half when Adamshick hit a 15-foot jumper to give Villanova a 48-34 lead. The ‘Cats then remained scoreless over the next 10-minute stretch, allowing Penn to remain in the game as it countered with a 12-0 run to make the score 48-46 with 3:51 remaining. Rattled but not dazed by the comeback, the Wildcats converted on nine of 11 free throws in the final 58 seconds to secure the victory.

During the last four minutes of the game, Villanova displayed tremendous defense, limiting Penn to just two baskets.

“As a team, I thought in the second half we did a good job rebounding the ball, especially defensively, late in the second half,” Getty said.

Again, Karcic was the catalyst for the Wildcats, recording four blocks, two steals and 11 defensive rebounds, providing a real defensive spark for Villanova. Early in the contest, it was Villanova’s 3-point shooting that allowed them to take an eight-point lead at halftime. Karcic and Getty combined for six of Villanova’s eight 3-pointers as the team shot six for 11 from beyond the arc in the first half.

The victory improved Villanova’s all-time record at the Palestra to 19-2 and propelled the team to take a commanding 32-2 lead in the all-time series with Penn. As the team prepares for its next contest against South Florida tonight, it remains focused on accomplishing its goals.

“Our goals for this season are pretty simple,” Getty said. “We want to keep getting better and improving every game. Over the next couple of weeks, we just want to make sure that we come out ready to play both mentally and physically.”

As a young and inexperienced team, the Wildcats hope to continue to take steps forward as they enter a difficult Big East schedule.