Villanova Defeats Seton Hall on Alumni Day

Kelly Jekot searches for an open teammate down the court. 

Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Kelly Jekot searches for an open teammate down the court. 

Joe Donovan

After jumping out to a double digit lead in the first half, Villanova was able to hold off a fourth quarter rally by Seton Hall to beat the Pirates 59-53 on Sunday at Jake Nevin Field House.

The Wildcats brought an expanded roster into their home matchup with Seton Hall this Sunday. As the ‘Cats took the court donned in their throwback uniforms, dozens of former Villanova women’s basketball legends lined the floor to support their team and celebrate Harry Perretta’s 40th year at the helm as head coach.

Defense dominated a grind-it-out first quarter as both teams would only combine for 19 points. Seton Hall played their offense through point guard Inja Butina in the early going, working hard to break down the ‘Cats defense by slashing to the basket and attacking inside. While they managed a few early buckets, the Wildcats clamped down and held Seton Hall to merely eight points in the quarter. On the offensive end, senior center Megan Quinn was the early catalyst, as she accounted for Villanova’s first five points of the game.

As the second quarter got underway, Villanova’s offense began to rack up points, thanks to great effort on the offensive glass to set up second chance opportunities. Sophomore Mary Gedaka epitomized this effort when she grabbed a tough board between two Pirate defenders, leading to a three-point make from fellow sophomore Kelly Jekot. The shot got Jekot going on the offensive end, as she would go on to lead all players in first half scoring with ten points. Emotions soon began to boil over as Seton Hall’s head coach, Anthony Bozzella, grew frustrated with his team’s inability to finish close to the rim, ultimately taking it out on the referee. These tensions would persist throughout the rest of the contest, coming to a head in the fourth quarter. However, Villanova kept their cool and went on to close the half up 29-18.

Much of the style of play that came to characterize the second quarter continued into the third. A tough offensive rebound from Villanova’s Jannah Tucker set up teammate Adrianna Hahn for three more second chance points. The Pirates JaQuan Jackson kept Seton Hall within striking distance, as she tallied three of her team leading 13 points on an and-one with four minutes remaining in the quarter. The back and forth quarter ended with Villanova retaining a 46-34 lead, setting the stage for an action packed final act.         

Gedaka set the tone from onset of the fourth quarter, notching an emphatic block on the Pirate’s Shadeen Samuels, which lead to an Adrianna Hahn jumper on the other end. Things began to get chippy; however, when Seton Hall’s Kaela Hilaire fiery defense began to draw the ire of the crowd as being overly physical as she checked Hahn. By the 5:48 media timeout, Coach Bozzella’s displeasure with the game’s officiating reached critical mass as he stormed the court and needed to be restrained by his assistant coaches. This brought both fan bases to a fervor but no technical fouls were assessed. Despite emotions running high, Villanova’s players appeared unfazed as they calmly re-took the court intent on securing the victory. Immediately, Hahn got loose for a clutch three-pointer, set up off a devastating screen, which put Hilaire on the ground. But displaying her toughness, Hilaire would go on to answer on the other end with a strong finish at the rim. The Villanova lead now cut to just eight at 55-47, the Wildcats came up empty on the offensive end. As the Pirates took the ball up the court looking to trim the lead even further, Gedaka flashed out of nowhere to come away with a big time steal. A few possessions later, Villanova put the game on ice after Alex Louin tracked down her career high 14th rebound of the afternoon and set up Gedaka for the finish. The Wildcats’ play down the stretch is a testament to their mental resiliency, a trait that will pay big dividends come March. 

Villanova will look to make it six wins in a row when they travel to take on Marquette in a matchup with tremendous Big East implications. Tip-off is scheduled for Friday at 12:30 p.m.