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WBB Previews: St. Joseph’s and Princeton

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Ryan Sarbello/Villanovan Photography
Villanova is currently 5-2 on the season.

Villanova went 1-1 in its fourth week of play, beating Richmond, 67-57, on Thursday and falling to Columbia on Sunday, 77-75. After Tuesday’s matchup with Penn, the Wildcats stand at 6-2 on the season.

Next week, Villanova will take on Saint Joseph’s (7-0) on Saturday, Dec. 9 at Hagan Arena in Philadelphia, and Princeton on Monday, Dec. 11 at the Finneran Pavilion. Tip-offs for both games are set for 7 p.m. 

The Hawks have had a very hot start to the season, going undefeated in their first seven games. Some of their biggest wins came against Penn, Drexel and Yale. 

This season, St. Joe’s is led by junior forward Talya Brugler. Brugler is averaging 15.1 points and 3.9 rebounds. The Hawks also have a top guard, Chloe Welch, who is averaging 12.3 points. 

St Joe’s is led by head coach Cindy Griffin. Last year, Griffin’s team had a 20-11 record and advanced to the NIT tournament when it lost to Seton Hall, 69-61. St. Joe’s has not had a NCAA tournament appearance since 2014.

Villanova has won its past seven matchups against Saint Joseph’s.

As for Villanova’s matchup against Princeton, the Tigers have been one of the best teams in the Ivy League in recent years. They opened the season 5-3 and briefly appeared in the AP Top 25, but dropped out in this week’s ballot after losses to No. 16 Indiana and Rhode Island. 

Princeton is led by head coach Carla Berube. Last year, Berube’s team had a 24-6 record and appeared in the NCAA Tournament, where it defeated NC State in the first round and lost to No. 2 Utah in the second round. 

The Tigers also had a run in the Ivy League Tournament in the 2022-23 season. Princeton has won the Ivy League two years in a row and has made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament for two straight years. 

This season, the team is led by senior guard Kaitlyn Chen. Chen is averaging 17.6 points with 3.9 assists. The Tigers also have a top guard, Madison St. Rose, who is averaging 16.4 points. 

Villanova is 5-2 all-time against the Tigers. The last time these two teams met was last season on Nov. 11, 2022, when Villanova defeated Princeton, 69-59. 

In both matchups, Villanova’s player to watch for is star guard Lucy Olsen. In Villanova’s most recent game against Columbia, Olsen had 33 points. This season, the junior is averaging 26.0 points per game, thanks in part to her 40-point game against Temple. 

Another name to keep an eye on is forward Christina Dalce. The junior is having a great year, averaging 8.9 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks. Against Columbia, Dalce finished with seven points, 14 rebounds and five blocks. 

In addition to Villanova’s star Olsen, another name to keep an eye on is junior guard Kaitlyn Orihel. Orihel is averaging 8.3 points and 3.3 rebounds on the year. In the Wildcats’ recent matchup against Columbia, Orihel finished with seven points. 

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