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WBB Finishing Regular Season Against No. 10 UConn and DePaul

Courtesy of Villanova Athletics
Villanova will finish its regular schedule against UConn on Feb. 28 and DePaul on March 3.

Villanova (10–6 Big East, 17–10) will finish its regular season schedule this week with a matchup against the Big East’s first-place team, UConn, followed by its tenth-place team, DePaul.

The ‘Cats are coming off a 79–69 road loss to Creighton that dipped them from third to fourth in the conference.

On Wednesday, Feb. 28, Villanova will travel to Storrs, CT to face No. 10 UConn (16–0 Big East, 24–5). The game will be broadcast on SportsNet New York at 7 p.m.

Villanova will be back on its home court at the end of the week for its last regular-season game against DePaul (4–12 Big East, 12–17). Tip-off at the Finn on Sunday, March 3 is scheduled for 5 p.m.

‘Cats Ready for Adversity

Villanova brought high energy to its recent contests against Providence on Feb. 21 and Creighton on Feb. 24. The Wildcats started both games with more than 50 percent shooting in the first quarter. 

While Villanova left Providence with an important, 68–58 win, Creighton forged a second-half comeback that Villanova could not stave off.

Junior guard Lucy Olsen built onto her outstanding season in her last two performances, dropping more than 25 points in each. Olsen leads the 2023–2024 Big East in scoring, averaging 23.6 points per game.

The Wildcats have recently experienced some unexpected change. Villanova has played without injured starter, junior guard Zanai Jones, for the last three games.

Junior forward Christina Dalce and freshman guard Maddie Webber helped spearhead the offense against Creighton, each reaching double digits in points. On the defensive side, Dalce leads the Big East in both rebounding, averaging 10.1 per game, and blocks, averaging 2.5 per game.

The Wildcats will need to show their resilience and offensive power against UConn and DePaul to finish the regular season on a high note before the Big East Tournament begins on March 8.

Scouting the Huskies

Breaking UConn’s undefeated Big East status on Wednesday night would be a feat for Villanova. Nevertheless, the matchup will be a test of Villanova’s tournament readiness and improvement from earlier in the season.

In their last meeting on Jan. 31 at the Finn, the Huskies, coached by Geno Auriemma, defeated the ‘Cats, 81–60. They were led by senior forward Aaliyah Edwards, with 22 points, and redshirt junior guard Paige Bueckers, with 21.

The Wildcats beat the Huskies on multiple places on the Big East stat sheet, despite their formidable record.

Edwards and Bueckers are both right behind Villanova’s leading duo of Dalce and Olsen in Big East rankings. Edwards records the second-highest rebounds in the conference, averaging 9.5 per game. Bueckers averages the second-highest points, with 20.5 per game.

Most recently, UConn demolished DePaul, 104–67, on the road. Edwards recorded a season-high 17 rebounds.

Scouting the Blue Demons

The matchup on March 3 will be the last regular season game for both Villanova and DePaul before the Big East Tournament.

The Blue Demons were no problem for the ‘Cats during their last meeting on Jan. 28, which resulted in a 95–64 victory. After a competitive first quarter, Villanova used a balanced offense to run away with the lead for the rest of the game.

Graduate guard Anaya Peoples, a transfer from Notre Dame, leads the Blue Demons with an average of 17.6 points per game. Peoples is also DePaul’s top rebounder, averaging eight per game.

DePaul, coached by Doug Bruno, will have a matchup against Butler on Wednesday, Feb. 28 before heading to Villanova.

Series History

UConn holds the all-time series record over Villanova, 81–60. The last time the ‘Cats came out with a win over the Huskies was a 72–69 edge on Feb. 9, 2022.

DePaul also owns the all-time series record over Villanova, 16–11. However, the Wildcats have won in their last five matchups.

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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.
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