Women’s basketball falls short in Big East Tournament



Claire Ferry

Senior standout Caroline Coyer could only watch from the bench as the clocked ticked down to zero.

For 16 of the last 20 years, the Villanova women’s basketball team had won its first game in the Big East Tournament. At the McGrath-Phillips Arena in Chicago last Sunday, however, No. 7 Creighton sent No. 2 ‘Nova home early in a 57-48 upset.

The team certainly missed the senior leadership of Coyer, sidelined after a torn ACL during late February ended her Villanova career in devastating fashion. Junior forward Samantha Wilkes had a stellar performance of 18 points and seven rebounds in an attempt to fill the void, but it was not enough.

After each team posted 10 points in the second quarter, the Wildcats headed into halftime trailing, 27-21. Wilkes led an early second half run with nine points, giving ‘Nova a one-point lead with three minutes left in the third quarter.  

The Wildcats’ Big East Tournament hopes remained alive at the beginning of the fourth quarter, thanks to a three-point play from Wilkes and senior Kavunaa Edwards’ presence beyond the arc. After pulling within two points with five minutes to play, though, MC McGregory and Creighton took control of the game for the final minutes.  

‘Nova struggled to contain McGregory as she collected 20 points on the night, and the Bluejays out-rebounded the Wildcats 46-29. On the offensive end, ‘Nova shot a mere 12 percent from the 3-point line, compared to Creighton’s impressive 40 percent accuracy in the second half.

Perhaps not even the fallen Coyer could have helped the team, since ‘Nova lost the other two contests against Creighton this season as well.  While she led the team in the second regular season meeting with 15 points, Creighton’s McGregory gave it similar problems with her 22 points in early January.

‘Nova had hoped to recapture the Big East title last won in 2003, but the team still showed well in the conference overall. 

Caroline Coyer was named to the All-Big East first team again this year—one of only four players in program history to receive the honor more than once.  Her twin sister Katherine received the Sportsmanship Award for her admirable attitude and play on the court.

The team’s underclassmen also showed well in conference recognitions, pointing to a bright future ahead.  

Sophomore Alex Louin was named to the Honorable Mention All-Big East Team, and freshman Adrianna Hahn received the Sixth Woman of the Year Award and was a unanimous selection to the All-Rookie Team. 

Monday, March 14 will prove pivitol in determining the team’s future, as the Postseason WNIT Selection Committee will announce the 64 teams composing the 19th annual tournament.

If the Wildcats are fortunate enough to make the cut, every player will have to elevate her play.

“Replacing [Caroline] is out of the question, but everyone has to step up their own game,” Katherine Coyer said of her sister. “No one can play like [she] can play because she’s one of a kind.”

Instead, the Wildcats will have to draw up a new game plan to keep winning. 

“My role on the team has never been to be a scorer, but now that she’s out, I have to pick up my scoring—everyone does,” explained Katherine Coyer.

Whether experienced senior or breakout freshman, each player will have to step up big if given a shot at the postseason.