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Villanova Soars Past D-II Jefferson in Exhibition, 69-42

Brian Luppy/Villanovan Photography
Junior forward Christina Dalce had a double-double against Jefferson with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Villanova claimed an exhibition win on Wednesday night at the Finneran Pavilion, soundly defeating the Division-II Jefferson Rams, 69–42.

All five members of the team’s starting lineup were familiar faces at the Finn. While head coach Denise Dillon began the game with a cast of returning players, multiple freshmen received the opportunity to make their Villanova debuts during the exhibition game.

The Wildcats soared past the visiting team in the game’s early minutes, ending the first period with an 18–2 lead.

Junior guard Lucy Olsen and junior forward Christina Dalce instantly established themselves as leaders on the court. Olsen scored seven points in the first quarter, while Dalce claimed six rebounds.

The Wildcats lost some of their initial momentum in the second period as Dillon made more changes in the lineup.

“As soon as we start missing shots, we let up on defense,” Dillon said. “Another lesson that this team has to learn quickly is that we can’t break from what we’re doing.”

The Rams began to gain on the Wildcats, climbing from a 24-point deficit and scoring 11 consecutive points to end the first half 33–21.

Jefferson continued to trail significantly on the scoreboard in the third quarter, in which Villanova improved offensively and added 23 points. Olsen shot three-for-three outside the arc, while Dalce and redshirt freshman guard Abigail Jegede also each contributed a three-pointer.

The Wildcats maintained their lead through the fourth period.

Olsen proved herself a pivotal member of the 2023–24 Villanova roster, as was expected, scoring a total of 22 points during her 32 minutes on the court, the highest of the team. Dalce led the team in total rebounds, tallying 10.

“I want to do whatever I can to help us win,” Olsen said.

The exhibition setting gave Dillon the opportunity to experiment with playing time and give some of the team’s newest members game experience.

“A lot of the starting lineup is going to be based off of matchups and who we’re facing,” Dillon said. “But rotation-wise, we’re trying to get our freshmen as much early experience as we can so they can give us some significant minutes throughout the season.”

Guard Maddie Webber stood out among the freshmen, playing in all four quarters and contributing ten points and six rebounds to the Villanova victory.

“I feel like everyone on the team has a really good bond, so no matter who the starting five are, we’re going to trust each other,” Olsen said. “I think we’re playing well together, but we still have to pick it up and learn some things about each other.”

The regular season will commence on Nov. 10 when the Wildcats go on the road to take on Portland, with tip set for 9 p.m. Villanova will play another west coast game against Oregon State on Nov. 12 before its home opener against Temple, which will take place on Nov. 19 at 2 p.m.

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Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis, Co-Sports Editor
Katie Lewis is a sophomore from Miami, FL in her first year as Co-Sports Editor in 2024. From covering games to writing features and profiles, she loves to find the story behind Villanova sports. Pursuing her enthusiasm for writing and journalism in her studies at Villanova, Katie is double-majoring in English and Communication with concentrations in Journalism and Writing & Rhetoric. When Katie isn’t at Holy Grounds working on her next article, she enjoys playing tennis with Villanova’s club team.
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