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Jan. 20, 1998

Villanova vs. St. John's Preview

Team Comparisons
VU                            SJU
16        Games played         16
958       Points scored       898
59.9   avg. points per game  56.1
39.8         fg pct.         36.9
36.2     3-point fg. Pct.    26.9
64.9     free throw Pct.     64.6
911      points allowed      1081
56.9   Opp. pts. per game    67.6
488      total rebounds       615
30.5   avg. reb. per game    38.4
266         assists           194
219        turnovers          334
13.6    avg. to. per game    20.8
VILLANOVA PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos No. Name                         PPG    RPG
F   13  Jenn Beisel (Sr./ 5-9)      13.1    5.4
F   24  Jenea Skeeters (So./ 5-11)  11.0    2.6
C   10  Jenn Sliwa (Jr./ 6-1)        9.1    4.7
G    4  Shanette Lee (Jr./ 5-7)      4.8    4.9
G   21  Jenny Higgins (Sr./ 5-10)   13.2    3.7
ST. JOHN'S Probable Starters
Pos No Name                          PPG    RPG
F   45 Andrijana Bedalov (Jr./6-2)   9.2    5.3
F    24  Ebony Dickinson (Jr./5-10) 13.2    5.8 
C   33  Cristina Jorif (So./6-2)     2.1    2.9
G   21  LaTricia Gunnells (Sr./5-9)  8.8    4.6
G   5   Anne Jones (Sr./5-7)         4.3    0.6

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 358 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.

RED STORM REPORT: The Red Storm enter tonight's game with a 4-12 overall record and a 2-6 Big East conference mark. St. John's is led in scoring by junior Ebony Dickinson who is averaging 13.2 ppg. Dickinson also leads the team in rebounding with a 5.8 ppg average and steals with 34. The second leading scorer on the team is junior Andrijana Bedalov with a 9.2 ppg average. As a team, St. John's is scoring 56.1 ppg, while they are giving up 67.6 ppg. From the field, the Red Storm is shooting 36.9 percent, while their opponents are shooting 40.3 percent.

RED STORM HEAD COACH CHARLENE THOMAS-SWINSON: The Red Storm are led by second-year head coach Charlene Thomas-Swinson. In her tenure at St. John's, Thomas-Swinson has compiled a 9-34 record. Prior to accepting her first head coaching position at St. John's, she spent four seasons as an assistant coach at Auburn University. In her playing days, Thomas-Swinson was a standout at Auburn, where she was a three-year starter. In her senior year, Auburn recorded a 31-2 record and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight. A two-time team captain, she still ranks in the top 10 on Auburn's all-time rebounding chart with 761 rebounds.

LAST TIME OUT: Villanova - On Saturday, Jan. 17, Villanova lost at Rutgers by a score of 62-40. In the first half, both teams played terrific defense, as the Scarlet Knights shot just 29 percent from the field, while Villanova shot only 31.6 percent from the floor. Led by LaTana Lillard's eight points, Rutgers went to intermission with 23-20 lead. Villanova was paced in the first half by junior Jenn Sliwa who tallied six points. Rutgers came out strong in the second half, scoring the first six points of the half to take a 29-20 lead with 18:48 remaining. Villanova managed to cut the lead to 29-25 at the 16:30 mark, before Rutgers went on a 13-0 run to take a commanding 42-25 lead. Just minutes before the 13-0 run, Wildcat point guard Shanette Lee picked-up her fourth foul and had to go to the bench. Without Lee in the game, Rutgers turned-up the pressure defense and forced Villanova into several turnovers that led to easy breakaway baskets. For the game, Villanova would commit 21 turnovers, which is eight more than their season average of 13.2. The Scarlet Knight were led by freshman point guard Natasha Pointer who scored a game-high 17 points and Lillard who finished with 13 points. Also scoring double figures for Rutgers was junior Tomora Young who had 10 points and six steals. Leading the way for the Wildcats was senior Jenn Beisel who tallied 11 points, while junior Jenn Sliwa would finish the contest with nine points and seven rebounds. Villanova would struggle from three-point range, as the 'Cats were just one-for-13 from long distance. St. John's- The Red Storm is coming off a 72-60 loss at Miami on Saturday, Jan. 17. After trailing by just one at 32-31 at halftime, St. John's was outscored 40-29 in the second stanza. Leading the way for St. John's was freshman Latasha Thompson who had 18 points and junior Andrijana Bedalov who netted 10 points. Junior Ebony Dickinson grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds. Miami was led by Kym Hope who registered 19 points and eight rebounds and Octavia Blue who scored 18 points. Also in double figures for the Hurricanes were Shannon Drury with 11 points and Jennifer Jordan who tallied 10 points. St. John's dominated the backboards as they out-rebounded Miami by a 45-32 margin.

A LOOK BACK: Last year, Villanova and St, John's met twice with Villanova winning both contests. At Villanova on Jan. 3, the 'Cats gained a 51-45 win. Jenn Sliwa had a big game with 20 points (five three-pointers) and nine rebounds. Jenn Beisel also had a solid game with 13 points. The Red Storm was paced by Cristina Jorif with 11 points. At St. John's on Feb. 16, the Wildcats won by a score of 64-51. Jenea Skeeters led the Villanova charge with 18 points, while Jenny Higgins had 17 points, including five three-point field goals. Other double figure scorers for Villanova included Beisel with 12 and Sliwa with 11. LaTricia Gunnels led the Storm with 16 points.

GOING TO THE BOARDS: Senior guard Jenny Higgins has made a name for herself all season long with her three-point shooting ability. After 16 games, Higgins is 59-for-118 (50.0%) from three-point range, which places her first in the Big East Conference and second in the nation. For the season, she is averaging 3.7 three-pointers a game and she has tallied four or more three-pointers on nine occasions. Lately, Higgins has also been one of Villanova's top rebounders. In her last three games, Higgins has pulled-down 18 boards for an average of 6.0 in that span. Against Rutgers on Saturday, Jan. 17, she recorded a career-high seven rebounds. For the season, Higgins is averaging 3.7 rpg. She currently leads Villanova in scoring with a 13.2 ppg average.

UNSELFISH PLAY: Junior point guard Shanette Lee will normally not put up a lot of numbers in the scoring department. However, many of the Wildcat baskets that are a scored are a direct reflection on her play. For the season, Lee has amassed a team-leading 108 assists (6.8 apg). Her assists to turnover ratio is currently at an impressive 2.5:1, which is good enough to lead the Big East. Besides leading Villanova in assists, Lee also leads the team in blocked shots with eight. For the season, she is averaging 4.8 ppg and 4.9 rpg (second on team). In the latest stats, Lee is second in the Big East in assists and 10th in the nation.

MAKING HER MARK: Senior forward Jenn Beisel is quietly climbing all the Villanova statistical charts. Entering the St. John's game on Wednesday, Jan. 21, Beisel ranks in the top 20 all-time in points, assists and rebounds. In points, her 821 career total places her 19th, while her 164 assists puts her 19th. Her 395 career rebounds ranks her 18th. Throughout this season, Beisel has been the team's best all-around performer. In the scoring department, Beisel is second on the team with a 13.3 ppg, while she is the team's best rebounder with a 5.6 rpg average. She also is the team leader in steals with 32 and is fifth on the squad in assists with 27. In addition, Beisel is Villanova's best man-to-man defender and is one of the top defensive players in the entire Big East Conference.

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.

PLAYING "D": In most Villanova wins, the Wildcat defense is what is responsible for the win. After 16 games, Villanova is giving up just 56.9 ppg. From three-point range, Wildcat opponents have made just 33-of-134 for a 24.6 percent success rate. In 10 of the 11 victories this year, Villanova has held its opponent under 60 points. The one exception was the Miami game when Villanova edged the Hurricanes, 68-67, in overtime. However, Villanova did hold the 'Canes under 60 points at 59 in regulation. Villanova is currently first in the Big East in scoring defense and they are eighth nationally.

THE MAGIC 60: Defense has always been a trademark of Harry Perretta coached teams. So far this year, Villanova is 10-0 when holding the opposition under 60 points and they are 1-5 when giving up 60 or more points. Offensively, the Wildcats are 9-1 when recording 60 or more points. Last season, Villanova was 11-0 when holding opponents under 60 points.

SHOOTING THE THREE: The Wildcats have made a living this season from behind the three-point arc. After 16 games, Villanova has already attempted 307 three-point field goals. In those attempts, the Wildcats have connected on 111 for a 36.2 percent success rate. Villanova is averaging 19.1 three-point field goals per game. Earlier this season versus Pennsylvania, Villanova set a school record for three-pointers made in a game with 18, in addition to establishing a school mark for three-pointers attempted in a game with 37. Villanova's best three-point shooter is Jenny Higgins who is 59-for-118 from behind the arc.

NCAA RECORD: In Villanova's 99-55 win over Pennsylvania on Dec. 20, the Wildcats connected on 18 three-point field goals in 37 attempts. The 18 made three-pointers establsihes a new NCAA record for triples in a game. The previous mark of 17 was set by South Carolina in a game versus Western Carolina on Jan. 13, 1994.

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 10.7 minutes per game, while Stephens is averaging 9.2 minutes per contest. In the scoring column, Stewart is averaging 2.6 ppg, while Stephens is averaging 2.0 ppg.

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.

VILLANOVA BY THE NUMBERS:
Overall Record:            11-5
Record at Home:             5-1
Record on the Road:         3-4
Record at Neutral Sites:    3-0
Big East Record:            5-3
At Home in Big East:        3-1
On the road in Big East:    2-2
Big 5 Record:               3-1
Record in night games:      5-3
Record in day games:        6-2
When leading at halftime:   8-0
When trailing at halftime:  2-5
When tied at halftime:      1-0
When holding opponents under 50 points:      4-0 
When holding opponents under 60 points:     10-0 
When holding opponents under 70 points:     11-4
When scoring 60 or more points:              9-1
When scoring 70 or more points:              1-0
When holding opponents under 40% shooting:   5-1 
When shooting 50% or better:                 3-0
In overtime games:                           1-0

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 821 career points and grabbed 395 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.

FAX-ON-DEMAND SERVICES: Once again this season, the Big East Conference is utilizing the FaxBack automated Fax-on-Demand-System. With this system, you can receive the latest notes, stats or box score from any of the Big East schools, or from the conference 24 hours a day. To receive this information, dial fro the handset of your fax machine 201-947-3918 and then follow the prompts until it asks for the documents (listed below) you would like to order.

                BIG EAST    VILLANOVA
Breaking News   1030        2230
Short Notes     1031        2231
Full Notes      1032        2232
Stats only      1033        2233
Box Scores      1034        2234

VILLANOVA, SEASON-HIGH SUPERLATIVES
Points:             27  Jenny Higgins vs. Penn (12/20/97)
Rebounds:           12  Jenn Beisel vs. Syracuse (1/10/98)
Assists:            11  Shanette Lee vs. Miami (1/14/98)
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)
                        Jenn Beisel vs. Miami (1/14/98)
Minutes Played:     45  Jenn Sliwa vs. Miami (1/14/98)

TEAM SEASON HIGHS
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:       18      vs. Seton Hall
Free Throws attempted:  23      vs. Two Teams
Three-Pointers made:    18      vs. Penn
Three-Pointers attempted: 37    vs. Penn 
Most rebounds           41      vs. Syracuse
Offensive Rebounds:     13      vs. Syracuse
Most turnovers          28      vs. Connecticut
Most assists            28      vs. Penn
Most steals:            14      vs. LaSalle
Most Blocked Shots       3      vs. Four Teams

TEAM SEASON LOWS
Points scored:          27      vs. Connecticut
First Half points       16      vs. Vanderbilt
Second Half points       8      vs. Connecticut
Margin of victory        1      vs. Boston College,  Miami
Margin of loss:          5      vs. LaSalle
FG Pct.                  21.5%  vs. Vanderbilt
Field Goals made:       11      vs. Connecticut
Field Goals attempted:  38      vs. Rutgers 
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:      4      vs. Georgetown
Turnovers:               7      vs. Two Teams
Assists:                 4      vs. Connecticut
Steals:                  4      vs. Two Teams
Blocked shots:           0      vs. Five Teams
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