After enduring the loss of seven seniors, this year’s young and energized women’s basketball team hoped to start the season on a winning note. However, the Blue Hens of Delaware University spoiled the ‘Cats quest for an opening-day victory with a highly contested 68-63 victory this past Sunday.
Heading into the season, several question marks loomed around the team, including how it would respond to the loss of four senior starters. In addition, several players were asked to assume new leadership roles and became more assertive offensively to help supplant the loss of last year’s leading scorer Liad Suez-Karni (14.9 points per game). Leading the Villanova Wildcats this year are fifth-year senior forward Jackie Adamshick and red-shirt junior Stacie Witman.
In a recent interview with “Nova Nation All Access,” both Adamschick and Witman described their roles as leaders as well as the team’s overall goals for the 2006-2007 season.
“Now that the seven seniors have left, we have become the new leaders, and we are just trying to help bring the younger girls along,” Adamschick said.
Both Adamschick and Witman demonstrated great leadership, poise and sound performances in the team’s loss to Delaware, with Adamschick leading the team in scoring and Witman in rebounds with 22 points and eight rebounds, respectively. Unfortunately, Delaware’s second half resurgence and advantage in rebounding led the Blue Hens to the upset victory.
In the game’s early stages, the Wildcats dominated many aspects of the game, shooting a blistering 60 percent from the field during the first half to take what seemed like a commanding 36-27 halftime lead.
In the opening minutes of the second half, Delaware effectively cut into the Wildcat lead, eventually tying the game at 47 on a bucket by Tyresa Smith. Following Smith’s jumper, Delaware continued its second-half resurgence, engineering a 10-0 run to give them a 54-47 lead, the team’s largest of the game. Villanova clawed back into the game, trimming the Delaware lead to one point after a basket by sophomore guard Tia Grant. Grant was unable to convert on the 3-point play and the Blue Hens were able to cling to a 1-point lead. Smith then iced the game for Delaware, converting on a 3-point play off an offensive putback, propelling Delaware to a 68-63 victory. In total, Smith finished with 27 points and 11 rebounds to lead all scorers.
Despite the fact that Villanova shot 42 percent during the course of the game and held Delaware below 40 percent, the ‘Cats were unable to overcome a huge rebounding deficit. Delaware was able to capitalize on its 47-29 rebounding advantage throughout the second half to take over the momentum of the game. Although the Wildcats experienced a tough defeat, there were a few bright spots, including Adamschick scoring her 1,000 point during her Villanova career. As ‘Nova prepares for its home opener against LaSalle, it continues to focus on its objectives and goals.
“We just want to continue to improve everyday and be the best team we can be at the end of the season,” Adamschick said.