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No. 21 Creighton Outlasts Villanova 79–69

Courtesy of Villanova Athletics
Creighton defeated the Wildcats 79–69 on Saturday, Feb. 24.

Villanova couldn’t capitalize on an early lead against No. 21 Creighton, falling, 79–69, on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 24.

The Wildcats brought strong shooting to the Bluejays’ home court, heading to Omaha, Nebraska on the heels of a ten-point victory over Providence at the Finn on Feb. 21.

Three starters reached double-digits on the scoreboard against Creighton.

Junior guard Lucy Olsen finished with 26 points, five assists, and two rebounds. Junior forward Christina Dalce recorded a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds, in addition to three blocks. Freshman guard Maddie Webber contributed 10 points and two defensive rebounds.

The ‘Cats came out with similar offensive intensity to their defeat of the Friars earlier in the week.

Villanova sank four shots from behind the arc in the opening moments: two from Webber and one each from junior guard Kaitlyn Orihel and senior guard Bella Runyan.

By just three minutes into the game, the Wildcats were up by ten, 12–2.

The energetic start continued as the lead stretched to 15 with an Olsen three-pointer and back-to-back jumpers from Olsen and Runyan off defensive rebounds.

The first ten minutes ended with Villanova ahead 23–10.

Creighton turned on its offense after the break, going 4–6 from three in the second period.

Meanwhile, Villanova’s shooting spree came to an end. The Wildcats went 5–14 from the field and 0–3 from the long range in the second quarter.

Head Coach Denise Dillon called a timeout for Villanova when Creighton cut the advantage to just two points less than four minutes until halftime.

The ‘Cats were unable to get their groove back before the half. The teams headed into the locker room with the score tied, 33–33.

The advantage switched to the home side throughout the third quarter. 

Creighton’s senior guard Morgan Maly, who clinched the U21 3×3 Nations League Championship over the summer alongside Olsen and Dalce, led the comeback bid. Maly scored nine points across the third period and finished the game with 18.

The Wildcats were behind by nine, 54–45, going into the fourth quarter.

Proving its notoriety as an AP Top 25 team, Creighton took control on 75 percent shooting in the pivotal last ten minutes, sealing the game.

While the ‘Cats struggled to connect shots as efficiently as in the first period, the Bluejays continued to run away with the game. Their advantage reached as high as 21 as the clock reached the last four minutes.

Villanova worked to reel the scoreboard back in, going on a late 14–3 run. Time ran out before the Wildcats could get past a 10-point deficit.

Despite the loss, the Wildcats showed progress since they last hosted the Bluejays on Jan. 21 and fell 63–49.

Next up for Villanova is another away contest against No. 15 UConn on Wednesday, Feb. 28. 

UConn is the second-to-last opponent Villanova will face in the regular season schedule. A home game against DePaul on March 3 will be the final matchup before the Big East Tournament from March 8 to March 11 at the Mohegan Sun.

Tip-off against the Huskies is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on SportsNet New York (SNY).

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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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