‘Nova leaves Las Vegas with 1-1 record

Holly Zappa

Returning late Monday night from their weekend UNLV Tournament, the women’s basketball team came back with a 63-56 loss to North Carolina and a 59-53 victory over Texas Arlington. While other students were feasting in the last days of Thanksgiving break, the women’s team, ranked No. 24 and one of the two top-25 participants, was making its mark in Las Vegas.

On Nov. 27, the Wildcats faced the No. 5 ranked Tar Heels. With a jump shot from senior Jennifer Hilgenberg, the Wildcats were the first team to score. They continued at a steady pace and even attained a seven point lead at the 10:09 minute mark when junior Kate Dessart-Mager produced a jump shot.

But despite the team’s consistency throughout this first half, the Tar Heels stayed close and didn’t hesitate to answer the Wildcats’ shots. By the end of the first half, North Carolina closed the seven-point gap that was created in the ninth minute to a one-point difference and a score of 25-26.

Unfortunately for the Wildcats, the second half breathed new life into the Tar Heels. They changed the pace of the game and began playing like the No. 5 ranked team that they are.

The Wildcats were unable to contain the Tar Heels. Six minutes into the second half, North Carolina broke away from Villanova achieving a 12 point lead.

“They were so extremely athletic and talented,” said junior Betsy McManus. “They turned it up a notch, and there was no one on that team who couldn’t score at anytime.”

With just 1:28 left in the game, junior Liad Suez landed two invigorating three-pointers, yet this was not enough to secure a win. The Tar Heels went on the win the UNLV Tournament.

Top scorers included Suez with 16 points and Dessart-Mager with 14, but the team itself shot only 35 percent.

“We have to make jump shots to be successful,” Villanova coach Harry Perretta said. “If we don’t, you see what happens.”

But the Wildcats remain confident and do not think the defeat connotes its usual negativity.

“This experience helps us because they came off and pressured us,” McManus said. “It’s good to play teams like that who are better than you and can pressure you. A lot of people got experience in the game and it’s especially a good experience because a lot of us are in new roles.”

The Wildcats went into their Sunday’s consolation game against Texas-Arlington with this valuable experience. The Wildcats surpassed the Lady Mavericks in field goals, three-pointers and defensive rebounds.

“We’re still going to play as hard against an unranked team,” McManus said.

Once again, three-pointers were a prominent method of scoring. In just the first half, red shirt junior Jackie Adamshick, junior Courtney Roantree and McManus hit a combined total of five three-pointers.

Leading the team with 25 points, Adamshick was the top scorer. She continued the long distance trend in the second half by producing six more points this way. The ‘Cats are recognized as one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country, and it is clear why. Last year’s Big East Tournament champions are back for another successful season.