Cinderella ‘Cats now Tourney bound

Cailin Brophy

For over a week, the Villanova women’s basketball team has been basking in the glow of what has been recognized as not only the greatest upset in Villanova women’s basketball history, but one of the biggest upsets at any level of basketball in the country during the past few years.

The celebration continued this past Sunday when the team gathered together to watch the NCAA tournament selection show on ESPN and learned that they had earned a No. 2 seed in the tourney, making history yet again by earning the highest seed in the team’s history. However, the ‘Cats know that the only way to earn success in the postseason is to stick with the fundamentals which brought them this far.

The Wildcats went back to work this week to prepare for their opening round opponent, St. Francis (Pa.), who they will face on Sunday at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Oklahoma. St. Francis, who earned an automatic bid by winning the Northeast Conference title for the seventh time in eight years, are currently riding a seven-game win streak heading into the NCAA tournament. The match-up will mark the first ever meeting between the two schools.

The ‘Cats are strongly favored to face the winner of the George Washington/Oklahoma game. The ‘Cats faced the Sooners in a second round match-up last year on Oklahoma’s home court in front of over 12,000 Sooner fans, playing a hard-fought game but eventually succumbing to the national runners-up. Should the ‘Cats face a rematch with the Sooners, they would still have the raucous crowd to contend with but would face a much different team than they did last year. Gone are star players Stacey Dales-Schuman, LaNeisha Caulfield and Rosalind Ross, all of whom are currently playing in the WNBA. Caulfield had her way with the ‘Cats last season, leading all scorers with 30 points.

This season is a different story, however, with the Wildcats heavily favored to emerge out of their opening round bracket and advance to the Sweet 16 in Knoxville, Tenn.

In order to extend what has become a dream season, the Big East champs will stick to the game plan which has gotten them this far; namely, draining shots from downtown and sticking to a shot-clock monotony offense intended to frustrate teams which are accustomed to an up-tempo game. Head coach Harry Perretta, who is closing in on 500 wins in his illustrious career, along with seniors Trish Juhline, Katie Davis and Nicole Druckenmiller, will provide the leadership needed to take the ‘Cats to the next level.