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Jan. 23, 1998

Wildcats Travel to West Virginia

VILLANOVA WILDCATS
(12-5 Overall, 6-3 Big East)
at
WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS
(8-8 Overall, 4-5 Big East)

  • Jan. 25, 1998 -- 1 p.m.
  • WVU Coliseum
  • Morgantown, WV

    Team Comparisons
    VU                              WVU
    17      Games played            16
    1029    Points scored           1186
    60.5    avg. points per game    74.1
    40.3    fg pct.                 42.5
    36.7     3-point fg. Pct.       32.3
    65.4    free throw Pct.         73.2
    951     points allowed          1149
    55.9    Opp. pts. per game      71.8
    515     total rebounds          572
    30.3    avg. reb. per game      35.7
    288     assists                 247
    226     turnovers               325
    13.2    avg. to. per game       20.3
    VILLANOVA PROBABLE STARTERS
    Pos No. Name                        PPG     RPG
    F   13  Jenn Beisel (Sr./ 5-9)      12.8    5.3
    F   24  Jenea Skeeters (So./ 5-11)  10.5    2.8
    C   10  Jenn Sliwa (Jr./ 6-1)        9.8    4.7
    G   4   Shanette Lee (Jr./ 5-7)      5.2    4.8
    G   21  Jenny Higgins (Sr./ 5-10)   13.4    3.6
    WEST VIRGINIA Probable Starters
    Pos No. Name                        PPG     RPG
    F   32  Maria Tchobanova (Jr./6-1)  10.3    6.1
    F   42  Talisha Hargis (Sr./5-8)    15.7    5.2 
    C   00  Adrienne Beard (Sr./6-1)     9.6    4.3
    G   3   Christie Lambert (Jr./5-10) 11.3    3.3
    G   15  Mandy Ronay (So./5-8)        4.8    2.7

    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 359 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.

    WEST VIRGINIA REPORT: The Mountaineers enter Sunday's game with a 8-8 overall record and a 4-5 Big East conference mark. West Virginia is led in scoring by senior Talisha Hargis who is averaging 15.7 ppg. Hargis also leads in steals with 44. Junior Rebecca Burbridge is the team's second leading scorer with a 10.2 ppg average. West Virginia is led in rebounding by Maria Tchobanova who is pulling-down 6.1 rpg. As a team, West Virginia is scoring 74.1 ppg, while they are giving up 71.8 ppg. From the field, the Mountaineers are shooting 42.5 percent, while their opponents are shooting 43.3 percent.

    MOUNTAINEER HEAD COACH ALEXIS BASIL: West Virginia is led by first-year head coach Alexis Basil. Before becoming head coach, Basil served as an assistant coach at West Virginia from 1992-97. Basil was a standout at West Virginia from 1983-87. During her playing days, Basil earned All-Atlantic 10 honors three times, including a first team selection in 1987. She also became the first West Virginia player to record at least 100 points, 100 steals and 100 assists for three consecutive seasons. In 1987, Basil was captain and the team's MVP.

    LAST TIME OUT:
    Villanova - On Wednesday, Jan. 21, Villanova dismantled St. John's by a score of 71-40. The win was Villanova's fifth in its last six games. The Wildcats came out on fire, as junior Jenn Sliwa scored 10 of Villanova's first 15 points to help the 'Cats take a 15-4 advantage. Villanova would open its lead to 27-6 at the 10:20 mark of the first half. St. John's would battle back by outscoring Villanova, 10-2, over the next three minutes and cut the Wildcat advantage to 29-16 with 6:53 to play until halftime. Villanova would finish the half with a 35-24 lead at intermission. Villanova was paced in the first half by Sliwa who was seven-of-eight from the floor for 17 points and senior Jenny Higgins who nailed three first half three-pointers en route to 10 points. St. John's was led in the first stanza by junior Andrijana Bedalov who scored 11 points. The Wildcats put the game away over the first 10 minutes of the second half, by outscoring the Red Storm, 21-4, to take a commanding 56-28 lead with 11:57 to play in the game. Villanova's lead would get as big as 65-32 with 4:36 on the clock. For the game, Villanova shot 50 percent from the floor, including an impressive 10-for-23 from three-point range. The Wildcats also played outstanding defense, holding St. John's to 39 percent shooting from the field and no three-point field goals. Villanova was led by Sliwa who tied a career-high with 21 points on eight-of-10 shooting from the field, including a three-for-five effort from behind the arc. Higgins finished the game with 17 points, while junior point guard Shanette Lee was sensational with 12 points (four-of-four from the field), eight assists, four rebounds, three steals and just one turnover. St. John's was paced by Bedalov who had 19 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. West Virginia- The Mountaineers are coming off a 103-92 win at Providence on Wednesday, Jan. 21. West Virginia was paced by junior Christie Lambert who was phenomenal with 38 points on 14-of-26 from the floor and a nine-of-16 effort from three-point range. Other double figures scorers for West Virginia include Maria Tchobanova with 19 points, along with Mandy Ronay and Rebecca Burbridge who had 13 points each. Providence was led by Jen Gombotz who had 25 points and Meghan Hinds who tallied 24 points. Dana Simonelli had 12 points, while Mandy Saunders added 11 points. Both teams shot extremely well, as the Mountaineers shot 50.7 percent from the floor and Providence shot 53 percent from the field. At halftime, West Virginia owned a 51-50 lead.

    A LOOK BACK: Last year, Villanova and West Virginia met twice with each team winning on their home court. At West Virginia on Jan. 7, 1997, the Mountaineers dominated the Wildcats by a score of 68-46. Ilse Opstaele netted 14 points, while Talisha Hargis scored 13. Villanova was led by Jenea Skeeters who had 16 points and Jenn Sliwa who added 12. At Villanova on Feb. 6, 1997, the Wildcats registered a 59-53 win. Sliwa scored 16, while Skeeters and Jenny Higgins tallied 13 each. Maria Tchobanova scored a game-high 22 for West Virginia, while Opstaele netted 17. NEAR PERFECT: In Villanova's 71-40 win over St. John's on Wednesday, Jan. 21, junior point guard Shanette Lee played an almost perfect game. In the victory, Lee went four-of-four from the field, scored 12 points, dished out eight assists, made three steals and grabbed four rebounds. In addition, Lee had just one turnover in 34 minutes of action. For the season, Lee is averaging 6.8 assists per game which is second in the Big East and 11th in the nation. Lee's assist to turnover ratio of 2.6:1 is the best in the Big East Conference. Lee, who has started every game at the point this year, is averaging 5.2 ppg and 4.8 rpg.

    SLIWA TIES CAREER-HIGH: Junior Jenn Sliwa tied her career-high with 21 points in Villanova's win over St. John's on Wednesday, Jan. 21. She tallied 17 of her 21 in the first half on seven-of-eight shooting. Sliwa scored her 21 points in fine fashion, as she went eight-for-10 from the field and thee-of-five from behind the arc. She also tallied five rebounds which tied her for team honors in rebounding. For the season, Sliwa is averaging 9.8 ppg and 4.7 rpg. She also has 30 assists (third on team) and 29 steals which is second on the squad.

    DIAL LONG DISTANCE: Senior guard Jenny Higgins has made a name for herself all season long with her three-point shooting ability. After 17 games, Higgins is 63-for-129 (48.8%) 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 10 occasions. In her last outing versus St. John's, Higgins went four-of-11 from behind the arc, en route to scoring 17 points. Higgins is currently leading Villanova in scoring with a 13.4 ppg average.

    MAKING HER MARK: Senior forward Jenn Beisel is quietly climbing all the Villanova statistical charts. Entering the West Virginia game on Wednesday, Jan. 21, Beisel ranks in the top 20 all-time in points, assists and rebounds. In points, her 829 career total places her 19th, while her 169 assists puts her 19th. Her 399 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 12.8 ppg, while she is the team's best rebounder with a 5.3 rpg average. She also is the team leader in steals with 33 and is second on the squad in assists with 32. Against West Virginia on Sunday, Jan. 25, Beisel will be playing in her 100th career game. 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 17 games, Villanova is giving up just 55.9 ppg. From three-point range, Wildcat opponents have made just 33-of-136 for a 24.3 percent success rate. In 11 of the 12 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. The Wildcats have been playing exceptional defense of late, as they have been yielding just 53.1 ppg in their last six contests. 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 11-0 when holding the opposition under 60 points and they are 1-5 when giving up 60 or more points. Offensively, the Wildcats are 10-1 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 17 games, Villanova has already attempted 330 three-point field goals. In those attempts, the Wildcats have connected on 121 for a 36.7 percent success rate. The Wildcats are coming off a 10-for-23 effort from behind the arc against St. John's. This is the fourth time this year that Villanova has tallied 10 or more three-pointers in a game. Villanova is averaging 7.1 three-point field goals per game. They are attempting 19.4 triples a game.

    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 establishes 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 10.5 minutes per game, while Stephens is averaging 9.0 minutes per contest. In the scoring column, Stewart is averaging 2.6 ppg, while Stephens is averaging 2.1 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:                 12-5
    Record at Home:                  6-1
    Record on the Road:              3-4
    Record at Neutral Sites:         3-0
    Big East Record:                 6-3
    At Home in Big East:             4-1
    On the road in Big East:         2-2
    Big 5 Record:                    3-1
    Record in night games:           6-3
    Record in day games:             6-2
    When leading at halftime:        9-0
    When trailing at halftime:       2-5
    When tied at halftime:           1-0
    When holding opponents under 50 points:      5-0 
    When holding opponents under 60 points:     11-0 
    When holding opponents under 70 points:     12-4
    When scoring 60 or more points:             10-1
    When scoring 70 or more points:              2-0
    When holding opponents under 40% shooting:   6-1 
    When shooting 50% or better:                 4-0
    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. Three Teams
    Assists:                4       vs. Connecticut
    Steals:                 4       vs. Two Teams
    Blocked shots:          0       vs. Six Teams
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