‘Nova captures No. 2 Midwest seed

Cailin Brophy

After the excitement of recording the biggest upset in college basketball this season, the Villanova women’s basketball team made history yet again by earning a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament, the highest-ever in school history.

The latest accomplishment comes on the heels of arguably the most memorable moment in Villanova basketball history, a 52-48 victory over the UConn Huskies, who had won 70 straight games prior to their match-up with Villanova. The Big East tournament title was the first for Villanova since 1987, and it also marked the first time since 1993 a team other than the Huskies garnered the honor.

The team will kick off its NCAA run this Sunday, when they face St. Francis (Pa.), who earned an automatic bid by winning the Northeast Conference. The ‘Cats will square off against their in-state opponents on familiar ground, however. ‘Nova will be beginning its postseason where it ended last year, at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla. Although the Wildcats are a high enough seed to earn the chance to play games at home, this is the first year where the NCAA is using pre-determined sites to host the opening round games. Therefore, the ‘Cats will be traveling to Oklahoma to play the first two games of the tournament.

If Villanova should advance past the first round, it would take on the winner of the George Washington/Oklahoma game. The ‘Cats lost a hard-fought contest to eventual runners-up Oklahoma on its home court last year.

Although they would be tough to face on their home court, the Sooners present a much less daunting task than they did last year when they boasted a No. 2 national ranking and current WNBA standout Stacey Dales-Schuman.

Yet despite the fact that the Wildcats are the favorites to advance in their opening round bracket, head coach Harry Perretta and his squad remain humble.

“We were hoping to ask the [NCAA] committee if we could still be a No. 7 seed,” Perretta said.

No matter what its seeding, one thing has been made clear throughout the season — this team can play.

“I told them that when we play our game, we can beat anyone in the country,” Perretta said.

After watching the victory over Connecticut in which Villanova controlled the tempo and frustrated the Huskies throughout, this logic is hard to argue against. All indications point to the ‘Cats being able to continue their controlled half-court style of offensive execution, which leaves little room for teams to capitalize on mistakes.

The Wildcats will look to continue to ride the emotional high of dethroning the Huskies with the consistency which has brought them such a high level of success this season when they take to the floor at 6:30 p.m. Sunday in Oklahoma. The game will be televised on ESPN.