The Student News Site of Villanova University

The Villanovan

The Villanovan

The Villanovan

WBB Coming Up Against Providence and No. 20 Creighton

Ryan Sarbello
Junior guard Lucy Olsen earned a spot on the Big East Weekly Honor Roll, averaging 27 points last week.

The Wildcats started the month of February with a three-game winning streak, working their way up to third place in the Big East.

However, a narrow, 55–52 upset loss to Butler on Feb. 17 showed that the last three weeks of the season before the Big East Tournament have the potential to be both challenging and unpredictable.

“It was a tough one to give up, especially at home,” head coach Denise Dillon said.

A pair of contests will precede Villanova’s anticipated rematch against No. 15 UConn, the Big East’s undefeated foe, on Feb. 28.

Tonight at the Finn at 7 p.m., Villanova seeks to regain its footing against Providence (6–8 Big East, 12–15 overall). 

On Saturday, Feb. 24, Villanova will next travel to Omaha, NE for a road game against No. 20 Creighton (12–3 Big East, 21–4 overall). The game will be broadcasted on FOX at 11 a.m.

‘Cats Aim to Get Back on Track

While efficient shooting across the starting lineup helped Villanova in a sizable, 62–47 win over Georgetown on Feb. 13, offense was a struggle against Butler. The Wildcats recorded an uncharacteristic 36-percent shooting on Saturday night’s loss.

An unexpected setback is that the ‘Cats will be playing without starting junior guard Zanai Jones due to an upper body injury. Jones is a key member of the Villanova squad, recently recording 10 points and a career-high eight rebounds in the win over Seton Hall on Feb. 3.

“We don’t know [when Jones will return] at this point,” Dillon said postgame on Saturday.

Junior guard Kaitlyn Orihel stepped up to replace Jones in the starting lineup.

Defense was the strong point of Villanova’s latest game. Junior forward Christina Dalce tied her career-high seven blocks against Butler, while also recording seven defensive rebounds. The Wildcats held the Bulldogs to under 40-percent shooting across the game.

The offense will continue to circle around junior guard Lucy Olsen, who recently earned a place on the Big East Weekly Honor Roll for the ninth time this season. Olsen averaged 27 points last week in the games against Georgetown and Butler.

Scouting the Friars

Providence currently stands in seventh place in the Big East after defeating Xavier, 66–42, on Feb. 18. 

In their last meeting with the Wildcats on Jan. 24, the Friars emerged on top, 82–76. Providence is a determined team with high endurance, returning from a 15-point halftime deficit to take the lead over Villanova in overtime.

Senior guard Grace Efosa and junior forward Marta Morales Romero helped the Friars in their comeback victory over the ‘Cats, each scoring more than 20 points in the game.

Beyond the score, Xavier was a significant win for Providence. The Friars are coming off a season-high 52 rebounds and another season-high nine blocks in their last game.

Scouting the Bluejays

No. 20 Creighton presently occupies the runner-up position below UConn in Big East rankings. 

Nevertheless, the Bluejays remain no match for the Huskies, falling, 73–53, in their last game on Monday, Feb. 19. They were limited to just 31 percent shooting.

Creighton’s star is senior guard/forward Morgan Maly, an especially familiar face for Olsen and Dalce. Maly was the third member of their U21 3×3 Nations League team over the summer. The trio went 6–0, claiming Team USA’s first-ever title in the international tournament. In the 2023–2024 season, Maly is averaging 14.6 points per game.

In the teams’ last faceoff on Jan. 23, Villanova lost to Creighton, 63–49. While the Wildcats never led in the game, Olsen headed the offense with 29 points.

Series History

The Friars see the Wildcats on the other side of the court more than any team in women’s basketball program history, playing 84 previous times. Villanova owns the all-time series record of 55–29, winning eight of the last 10 meetings.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Villanovan
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of The Villanovan with technological needs, training, etc!

More to Discover
About the Contributor
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.
Donate to The Villanovan
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Villanovan Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *