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Dec. 22, 1997

Wildcasts Travel to Vanderbilt MCI Classic

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. Perretta's 353 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.

FAMILIAR FOES: Villanova head coach Harry Perretta and Vanderbilt head coach Jim Foster are very familiar with one another. Before Foster landed the job at Vanderbilt, he was the head coach at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. Being members of the Philadelphia Big 5, St. Joseph's and Villanova play one another every season. During Foster's tenure on Hawk Hill, his St. Joseph's teams played Perretta and the Wildcats on 12 occasions. In those 12 games, Foster and St. Joseph's tallied an 8-4 mark.

SEC OPPONENTS IN HOLIDAY TOURNAMENTS: Vanderbilt will be the fourth SEC opponent that Villanova has played in a Christmas Tournament. In 1986, Villanova lost to Georgia, 71-60, in the championship of the Wildcat Christmas Classic, while in 1989 the Wildcats defeated Alabama, 74-69, in the championship of the Wildcat Christmas Classic. Last year, Villanova fell to Kentucky, 63-54, in the Wildcat Christmas Classic final.

HOLIDAY ROAD TRIP: For the first time since the 1984-85 season, Villanova will be on the road during the holiday season and will not be hosting a Christmas Tournament. In the 12 years that Villanova held a Christmas Tournament, the Wildcats compiled a 16-8 record.

(6-2 Overall, 1-1 Big East)

Dec. 28-29, 1997 
Memorial Gym
Nashville, Tenn.
(Murray State, SW Texas State, Vanderbilt, Villanova) 

BOMBS AWAY: In Villanova's last outing versus Pennsylvania on Saturday, Dec. 20, the Wildcats set school records for three-point field goals made and three-point field goals attempted, as they were 18-for-37 from behind the arc. The 18 three-pointers shatters the previous mark of 10 set earlier this season against LaSalle. In the game, six different Wildcats made a three-point field goal with three players (Jenny Higgins-9, Megan Stewart-3, Mary Beth Snell-3) recording three or more. For the year, Villanova is 61-for-132 (46.2%) from behind the arc. The Wildcats, who are averaging 7.6 three-point field goals a game, shoot a better percentage from three (46.2%) than they do from inside the arc (42.9%).


Jenny Higgins.
Senior Jenny Higgins put on a shooting display in Villanova's 99-55 win over Pennsylvania on Saturday, Dec. 20. In the win, the Gaithersburg, Maryland native connected on a school-record setting nine three-point field goals in a school-record 18 attempts. Higgins, who took all 18 of her shots from three-point range, finished the game with a career-high 27 points. For the season, she is 29-for-52 (55.8%) from behind the arc, which leads the Big East Conference and is second in the national stats. Entering the Vanderbilt Tournament, she is second on the team in scoring with a 12.9 ppg average.

TRIPLE J'S: Villanova is led in scoring by the Triple J's, Jenn Beisel, Jenny Higgins and Jenea Skeeters. Beisel leads the way with a 14.3 ppg average, followed by Higgins who is scoring 12.9 ppg and Skeeters who is averaging 11.6 ppg. All three are shooting well from the field with Higgins (50.7%) and Beisel (50.5%) leading the team. Skeeters is currently third on the team with a 44.9 shooting percentage.

BREAKOUT SEASON: Senior forward Jenn Beisel is having an outstanding senior season thus far in 1997-98. The Philadelphia, Pa. native is currently leading the team in both scoring (14.3 ppg) and steals (17 total). Besides being one of Villanova's top offensive threats, Beisel is also Villanova's best defensive player. Her defensive ability allows her to guard a player on the perimeter, as well as defend an opponent in the low post despite being only 5-9. Due to her outstanding defensive ability, Beisel is usually assigned to guard the opponents best player. Last year as a junior, Beisel averaged 10.1 ppg which ranked her third on the team. Also, last season, she finished second on the team in steals (59) and assists (74).

TRAINING ROOM REPORT: Junior center Priscilla Rosenthal will be sidelined for the remainder of the year due to a knee injury. Rosenthal suffered the injury during practice on Dec. 4. Prior to the injury, Rosenthal had played in four games where she grabbed five rebounds. Rosenthal is Villanova's tallest player at 6-4.

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 eight games this season, Skeeters is averaging 11.6 ppg and 3.1 rpg. From three-point range, she is seven-for-16 (43.8%).

THE MAGIC 60: Defense has always been a trademark of Harry Perretta coached teams. In Villanova's 14 victories last season, the Wildcats 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 an 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 6-0 when holding the opposition under 60 points and they are 0-2 when giving up 60 or more points. Offensively, the Wildcats are 5-1 when recording 60 or more points.

THE 50 PERCENT PLATEAU: In the past few seasons, the Wildcats have had a difficult time shooting 50 percent or better from the field. However, this year, the 'Cats have tried to change this trend. Entering the Vanderbilt Tournament, Villanova has reached the 50 percent mark in three straight games shooting a season-high 54.9 percent versus St. Joseph's, 50.0 percent against Temple and 50.7 percent versus Pennsylvania. For the year, Villanova is shooting 43.9 percent from the field. In 28 games last season, Villanova shot 50 percent on just one occasion (50.0% versus Rutgers).


Jenn Sliwa.
Junior Jenn Sliwa is one of Villanova's most versatile performers. Last year as a sophomore, the 6-1 native of Valparaiso, Ind. led the Wildcats in scoring and rebounding with 12.9 and 6.6 respective averages. After eight contests this year, Sliwa is averaging 9.1 ppg and 3.4 rpg. She is also second on the team in three-point field goals with 13. Besides being one of Villanova's most formidable offensive threats, Sliwa is also one of the team's top defenders. The key to Sliwa's defensive prowess is her versatility, as she is quick enough to guard a player on the perimeter, yet is big enough to defend a post player. Because of Villanova's lack of size, Sliwa plays center the majority of the time. Her combination of size, quickness and intensity makes her Villanova's best post-defender.

RUNNING THE SHOW: A key to the Villanova attack during head coach Harry Perretta's tenure has been a solid point guard who can control the game to fit Perretta's style. This season that player is junior Shanette Lee. Even though she is a guard, Lee is Villanova's leader in both rebounding (5.1 rpg) and blocked shots (six total). She also leads Villanova in assists (6.3 apg) and is third on the team in steals with 15. Last year as a sophomore, Lee set a sophomore class record for steals in a season with 73. In the scoring department, the 1995-96 Philadelphia Big 5 Rookie of the Year is currently averaging 5.4 ppg.

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. Stewart is averaging 9.7 minutes per game, while Stephens is averaging 7.4 minutes per contest. In their last outing versus Pennsylvania, both Stewart and Stephens tallied career-highs with Stewart scoring 17 points on seven-of-eight shooting from the field and Stephens recording seven points.

HOMETOWN REUNION: When Villanova and Vanderbilt meet in the tournament's first round, a Gaithersburg, Maryland native will be in the starting line-up for each team. Senior Lisa Ostrom, who graduated from Watkins Mill High School in Gaithersburg, will start at forward for the Commodores, while senior Jenny Higgins, who attended Gaithersburg High School, will start at the shooting guard for the Wildcats.

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 of eligibility remaining beginning in 1998-99. Baker and Pennefather are expected to join sophomore point guard Lauren Pellicane as a redshirt this season.

Overall Record:                             6-2
Record at Home:                             2-0
Record on the Road:                         2-2 
Record at Neutral Sites:                    2-0
Big East Record:                            1-1
At Home in Big East:                        0-0  
On the road in Big East:                    1-1
Big 5 Record:                               3-1
Record in night games:                      3-2
Record in day games:                        3-0
When leading at halftime:                   4-0
When trailing at halftime:                  2-2
When tied at halftime:                      0-0
When holding opponents under 50 points:     2-0
When holding opponents under 60 points:     6-0
When holding opponents under 70 points:     6-2
When scoring 60 or more points:             5-1 
When scoring 70 or more points:             1-0
When holding opponents under 40% shooting:  2-0
When shooting 50% or better:                3-0
In overtime games:                          0-0
Jenn Beisel.
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 725 career points and grabbed 348 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 a career-best 11 points on Saturday, Dec. 20 against Pennsylvania. In addition, freshman Therese Pennefather who is redshirting this season, is the younger sister of former Wildcat great Shelly Pennefather. Shelly won the 1987 Wade Trophy as the nation's top women's collegiate basketball player.
Points:                 27      Jenny Higgins vs. Penn (12/20/97)
Rebounds:               8       Jenn Beisel vs. Pittsburgh (12/7/97)
                                Shanette Lee vs. St. Joe's (12/10/97)
                                Shannon Ferretti vs. Penn (12/20/97)    
Assists:                9       Shanette Lee vs. UAB (11/28/97)    
                                Jenn Beisel vs. St. Joe's (12/10/97)
                                Shanette Lee vs. Temple (12/13/97)      
Field Goals Made:      10       Jenn Beisel vs. St. Joe's (12/10/97)              
Three-Pointers:         9       Jenny Higgins vs. Penn (12/20/97)                  
Free Throws Made:       8       Jenn Beisel vs. Pittsburgh (12/7/97)   

Steals:                 6       Jenn Beisel vs. Va. Tech (11/29/97)

Minutes Played:        38       Jenn Beisel vs. St. Joe's (12/10/97)                

Points scored             99      vs. Penn
First half points         43      vs. Penn 
Second half points        56      vs. Penn
Margin of victory:        44      vs. Penn
Margin of loss            40      vs. Connecticut
FG Pct                    54.9%   vs. St. Joseph's
Field Goals made          35      vs. Penn
Field Goals attempted:    69      vs. Penn 
Free Throws made:         16          vs. Pittsburgh                  
Free Throws attempted:    20      vs. Two teams
Three-Pointers made:      18      vs. Penn            
Three-Pointers attempted: 37      vs. Penn
Most rebounds             35      vs. Temple  
Offensive Rebounds:       11      vs. Three Teams
Most turnovers            28      vs. Connecticut
Most assists              28      vs. Penn
Most steals:              14      vs. LaSalle
Most Blocked Shots         3      vs. Three Teams

Points scored:           27       vs. Connecticut
First Half points        18       vs. VA Tech
Second Half points        8       vs. Connecticut
Margin of victory         7       vs. Pittsburgh 
Margin of loss:           5       vs. LaSalle
FG Pct.                  23%      vs. Connecticut
Field Goals made:        11       vs. Connecticut 
Field Goals attempted:   48       vs. Twice last vs. Connecticut
Free Throws made:         1       vs. LaSalle
Free Throws attempted:    6       vs. Temple
Three-Pointers Made:      0       vs. Connecticut
Three-Pointers attempted: 5       vs. Temple          
Rebounds:                22       vs. LaSalle
Offensive Rebounds:       5       vs. St. Joseph's
Turnovers:               10       vs. LaSalle
Assists:                  4       vs. Connecticut
Steals:                   4       vs. Pittsburgh
Blocked shots:            0       vs. Two Teams


Team Comparison vs. Vanderbilt

Villanova                              Vandy   
  8             Games played             8   
 507           Points scored            565
63.4        avg. points per game       70.6
43.9              fg pct.               48.4
46.2          3-point fg. Pct.          35.3
56.4          free throw Pct.           63.3
437          points allowed             449
54.6        Opp. pts. per game          56.1
238           total rebounds            290
29.8        avg. reb. per game         36.3
141              assists               134
115             turnovers              164
14.3        avg. to. per game          20.5