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Dec. 1, 1997

Villanova Travels to Connecticut to Battle Huskies

Villanova Wildcats (2-1 Overall, 0-0 Big East) at Connecticut Huskies (6-0 Overall, 0-0 Big East)
Dec. 2, 1997
Gampel Pavilion
Storrs, Conn.

Series Information

  • Series Record: UConn leads 17-15
  • Last VU win: Jan. 1993, 50-44
  • Last UConn win: March 1997, 63-45
  • Streak: UConn has won nine-straight

HEAD COACH HARRY PERRETTA: The Wildcats are led by the Dean of Big East head coaches Harry Perretta who is in his 20th year at Villanova. During his tenure at Villanova, Perretta has tallied a 349-198 record for a .638 winning percentage. Last year, Perretta coached one of his most inexperienced and youngest teams in his Villanova tenure to a 14-14 overall record. Perretta's 347 wins ranks him 49th on the winningest active collegiate coaches list. For just Division I coaches, he ranks 33rd. In his career at Villanova, Perretta has led the Wildcats to three NCAA Tournament appearances, two Big East Tournament Championships and eight Philadelphia Big 5 titles. In 1981-82, Perretta guided the Wildcats to the AIAW Final Four.

HARRY NEARS MILESTONE: With just one more win, Wildcat head coach Harry Perretta will record his 350th career victory. This is an amazing accomplishment when you consider that he is just 41 years old. Perretta claimed his 300th win at the age of 39 when the Wildcats defeated Georgetown, 70-57, on Jan. 8, 1995.

PERRETTA TO MISS GAME: Villanova head coach Harry Perretta will miss tonight's game against Connecticut due to an illness in his family. This will be the third straight game that Perretta will not be on the Wildcat sidelines. Last weekend, Perretta accompanied the team to St. Mary's but returned home before the start of the tournament. Perretta will return to practice on Thursday, Dec. 4 and resume game coaching duties on Sunday, Dec. 7 when the Wildcats travel to Pittsburgh. In his absence, assistant coach Joe Mullaney will handle the head coaching responsibilities. Mullaney was most recently the head coach at St. John's from 1984-95 where he compiled a 168-173 record. Mullaney also served as the Providence College women's coach from 1980-83 where he guided the Lady Friars to a 66-27 mark.

WILDCATS WIN ST. MARY'S TOURNAMENT: Last weekend, Villanova captured the St. Mary's (CA) Tournament. In the first round, the Wildcats defeated Alabama Birmingham by a score of 68-52. Senior Jenn Beisel led the way with 18 points (seven-for-15 shooting) and six rebounds. Also scoring in double figures were Shanette Lee with 13, while Jenny Higgins and Jenea Skeeters tallied 12 each. Lee also added nine assists and seven rebounds. In the championship game, Villanova downed Virginia Tech, 55-46. Skeeters led the Villanova attack with 16 points and five rebounds, while Beisel was sensational again with 14 points and six steals. Higgins had another double figure scoring game with 11 points. For the tournament, Higgins connected on seven-of-nine three-point field goals.

FOUR EARN ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS: For their efforts in the St. Mary's Tournament, four Wildcats were named to the All-Tournament team. Jenn Beisel, who had two-day totals of 32 points (13-for-27 from the field), nine rebounds and seven steals, was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Joining Beisel on the All-Tournament team were Jenny Higgins (23 points, including seven-for-nine shooting from three-point range), Shanette Lee (18 points and 14 assists in the tournament) and Jenea Skeeters (28 tournament points).

SENSATIONAL SOPHOMORE: After recording a stellar freshman season in 1996-97, sophomore Jenea Skeeters looks to continue her strong play in this her second season as a collegiate. As a rookie last season, Skeeters finished second on the team in scoring with a 12.8 points per game average. In just Big East games, Skeeters led Villanova in scoring with a 13.1 points per game average. The 357 points tallied by Skeeters last year is the third highest ever by a Villanova freshman. In 28 games last season, Skeeters scored in double figures in 20 of them. For her efforts last season, Skeeters earned Philadelphia Big 5 Rookie of the Year honors, in addition to being named to the Big East All-Rookie team. After three games this season, Skeeters is averaging 12.3 ppg and 2.7 rpg. From three-point range, she is four-for-nine (44.4%).

MISS VERSATILITY: Junior Jenn Sliwa is one of the most versatile performers you will find. The 6-1 native of Valparaiso, Ind. gives opponents fits because she has the height to post-up smaller players, yet her quickness allows her to play on the perimeter where she is one of Villanova's top three-point shooters. Sliwa led Villanova in scoring and rebounding last year with averages of 12.9 and 6.6 respectively. Against LaSalle in the 1997-98 season opener, Sliwa had 13 points, three three-field goals, five rebounds, four steals and three assists. After three games, she is 10.0 ppg and 3.3 rpg.

RUNNING THE SHOW: Junior point guard Shanette Lee will be the quarterback on the floor this season for head coach Harry Perretta and the Wildcats. The 1995-96 Philadelphia Big 5 Rookie of the Year started all 28 games a season ago and set a sophomore class record for steals in a season with 73. Besides leading the team in steals last year, Lee also led Villanova in minutes played (31.7 mpg) and assists (152). Lee turned in an outstanding performance versus Alabama Birmingham in the first round of the St. Mary's Tournament with 13 points, nine assists and seven assists, in addition to having just one turnover. For her efforts at St. Mary's, Lee earned All-Tournament distinction.

A THREAT FROM THREE: While many players on the Villanova roster are capable from behind the arc, Villanova's best three-point shooter is senior guard Jenny Higgins. Last season as a junior, Higgins tied Jenn Sliwa for the team lead in three-pointers with 37. Higgins really came on late last season as she went 24-for-65 from three-point range in the final eight regular season games. In those eight games, she tallied 98 points for a 12.2 ppg average. On the season, Higgins averaged 8.0 points per contest. Thus far this year, Higgins has picked-up right where she left off in 1996-97. After three contests, she is on fire from behind the arc as she has connected on 11-for-19 for a 57.9% shooting rate.

LEADING THE WAY: Senior Jenn Beisel has been nothing short of sensational in the first three games of the season. The Philadelphia, Pa. native is currently leading Villanova in scoring with a 16.3 points per game average. She is also Villanova's best field goal percentage shooter at 48.8% (21-for-43). Beisel has scored in double figures in every game so far with 17 points versus LaSalle, 18 points against UAB and 14 versus Virginia Tech. In addition to her offensive prowess, Beisel is Villanova's best defenders and is one of the best in the entire Big East Conference.

SECOND UNIT: Don't be surprised if Villanova uses a mass substitution policy in tonight's game. Throughout the pre-season, the Wildcats had been experimenting with substituting a complete five-person second unit at one time. The second unit will consist of guards Mimi Riley, Mary Beth Snell, and Megan Stewart, center Priscilla Rosenthal, and either Shannon Ferretti or Rebecca Stephens at forward. Villanova used this substitution policy against LaSalle in the season opener, but did not implement it in either of the games in the St. Mary's Tournament.

NEW FACES: There are five new members of the Villanova women's basketball team. True freshman on this year's squad include Stephanie Baker (Wilmington, Del./ St. Mark's H.S.) Mimi Riley (Bala Cynwyd, Pa./Archbishop Carroll H.S.), Therese Pennefather (Manassas, Va./ Seton H.S.), and Rebecca Stephens (Brisbane, QLD, Australia). The other new member of the team is sophomore Brandi Barnes who transferred to the Main Line from the University of Maryland. Barnes will sit out the 1997-98 season and have three years od eligibility remaining beginning in 1998-99. Baker and Pennefather are expected to join sophomore point guard Lauren Pellicane as a redshirt this season.

THE LAND DOWN UNDER: Australia has become a recruiting hot spot for head coach Harry Perretta. Last season, Megan Stewart became the first foreign student-athlete to ever play for Perretta and the Wildcats. Stewart hails form Maroochydore, QLD, Australia. This year, freshman Rebecca Stephens, who is a native of Brisbane, QLD, Australia joined the Wildcats giving Perretta an Australian duo.

THE MAGIC 60: Defense has been a trademark of Harry Perretta coached teams. In Villanova's 14 victories last season, the Wildcats have held 12 opponents under 60 points, in addition to holding one opponent right at 60. Of the 12 opponents held under 60, six scored 50 or less. Villanova finished 1996-97 with a 11-0 mark when holding opponents under 60 points. The number 60 is also important to the Villanova offense, as the 'Cats were 10-3 last year when scoring 60 or more points. So far this year, Villanova is 2-0 when holding the opposition under 60 points and they are 0-1 when giving up 60 or more points.

BEHIND THE LINE: Early on in the 1997-98 season, Villanova has been exceptionally good from three-point range. Entering the Connecticut game on Tuesday, Dec, 2, the Wildcats are 24-for-50 (48%) from three-point territory. The Wildcats are averaging eight three-point field goals per game.

TAKING CARE OF THE BALL: Villanova has been excellent at taking care of the basketball in the early part of the 1997-98 season. After three games, the 'Cats have committed just 33 turnovers for an average of 11 per game. Despite having an inexperienced team last year, Villanova averaged just 14 turnovers per contest.

Overall Record:                             2-1
Record at Home:                             0-0
Record on the Road:                         0-1 
Record at Neutral Sites:                    2-0
Big East Record:                            0-0
At Home in Big East:                        0-0  
On the road in Big East:                    0-0
Big 5 Record:                               0-1
Record in night games:                      2-1
Record in day games:                        0-0
When leading at halftime:                   1-0
When trailing at halftime:                  1-1
When tied at halftime:                      0-0
When holding opponents under 50 points:     1-0
When holding opponents under 60 points:     2-0
When holding opponents under 70 points:     2-1
When scoring 60 or more points:             1-1 
When scoring 70 or more points:             0-0
When holding opponents under 40% shooting:  1-0
When shooting 50% or better:                0-0
In overtime games:                          0-0

ALL IN THE FAMILY: Villanova starting forward Jenn Beisel is the second member of her family to play for Coach Harry Perretta. Beisel's older sister, Kathie, played for Villanova from 1979-83 and ended her Wildcat career as the school's all-time assist leader (507), fourth all-time leading rebounder (729) and fifth all-time leading scorer (1,328). Beisel, one of Villanova's best defenders, has scored 629 career points and grabbed 304 career rebounds. Beisel is not the only Wildcat whose sister played for Perretta. Freshman Mary Beth Snell had an older sister, Jen, who played at Villanova from 1991-96. During her career, Jen Snell scored 776 points and pulled down 422 rebounds. Mary Beth Snell scored in her first points of her career when she made a three-point field in the season opener at LaSalle.

Points:             18      Jenn Beisel vs. UAB (11/28/97)
Rebounds:            7      Shanette Lee vs. UAB (11/28/97)
Assists:             9      Shanette Lee vs. UAB (11/28/97)             
Field Goals Made:    8      Jenn Beisel vs. LaSalle (11/24/97)            
Three-Pointers:      4      Jenny Higgins -- Two times,                 
Free Throws Made:    5      Jenea Skeeters vs. Va. Tech (11/29/97)  
Steals:              6      Jenn Beisel vs. Va. Tech (11/29/97)
Minutes Played:     37      Jenea Skeeters vs. Va Tech (11/29/97)                    
Points scored               68  vs. UAB 
First half points           29  vs. UAB 
Second half points          30  vs. Two Teams
Margin of victory:          16  vs. UAB
Margin of loss               5  vs. LaSalle
FG Pct                      46% vs. UAB
Field Goals made            25  vs. Two Teams
Field Goals attempted:      60  vs. LaSalle 
Free Throws made            17  Twice Last vs. Penn
Free Throws attempted:      27  vs. Temple
Three-Pointers made          9  vs. Three Times Last vs. UConn.
Three-Pointers attempted:   27  vs. Notre Dame (2/19)
Most rebounds               50  vs. Georgetown 
Offensive Rebounds:         20  Twice last vs. Syracuse
Most turnovers              23  vs. W. Virginia
Most assists                23  vs. Providence (2/25) 
Most steals:                19  vs. Pittsburgh
Most Blocked Shots           5  vs. Penn 

Points scored:              55  vs. Va Tech
First Half points           18  vs. VA Tech
Second Half points          30  vs. UAB
Margin of victory            9  vs. Va Tech 
Margin of loss:              5  vs. LaSalle
FG Pct.                     41  vs. LaSalle
Field Goals made:           19  vs. Va Tech
Field Goals attempted:      48  vs. Va Tech
Free Throws made:            1  vs. LaSalle
Free Throws attempted:       7  vs. LaSalle
Three-Pointers Made:         5  vs. Va tech
Three-Pointers attempted:    5  vs. Temple          
Rebounds:                   22  vs. LaSalle
Offensive Rebounds:          7  vs.  UAB
Turnovers:                  10  vs. LaSalle
Assists:                    10  vs. Va Tech
Steals:                      6  vs. Va Tech
Blocked shots:               0  vs. UAB        

Team Comparison

Villanova UConn 3 Games played 6 184 Points scored 504 61.3 avg. points per game 84.0 42.6 fg pct. 52.0 48.0 3-point fg. Pct. 41.6 50.0 free throw Pct. 68.7 164 points allowed 339 54.7 Opp. pts. per game 56.5 77 total rebounds 245 25.7 avg. reb. per game 40.8 48 assists 100 33 turnovers 121 11.0 avg. to. per game 20.1