Jan. 6, 2007
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Junior forward Stacie Witman (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) scored all 12 of her points in the second overtime period as Villanova (7-8, 1-1 Big East) capped a stunning comeback late in regulation with a 70-64, double-overtime victory over West Virginia (8-7, 0-3 Big East) on Saturday night at the Pavilion. The Wildcats scored six unanswered points in a span of 25 seconds and tied the game with four seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime.
It was a night of unusual streaks and dramatic performances from both sides. Witman was scoreless through 35 minutes of playing time in regulation and the first extra period before scoring 12 of the 14 Villanova points in the second overtime. The Wildcats never trailed in the final stanza of the game and Witman put Villanova ahead for good, 62-59, on a three-pointer with 2:44 remaining.
A three-pointer by the Mountaineers' Sparkle Davis with 36 seconds left cut the margin to 64-62, but Witman made both ends of a 1-and-1 with 33 seconds remaining to make it a two-possession game. She sank four more free throws in the final 19 seconds to secure the win and finished with her first career double-double, scoring 12 points and pulling down a career-high 11 rebounds in 40 minutes.
Witman's heroics in overtime never would have happened were it not for a furious rally by Villanova at the end of regulation. With 38 seconds remaining, Davis hit 1-of-2 free throws for West Virginia to give the Mountaineers a 49-43 lead. At the other end of the floor, redshirt freshman Maria Getty (Centerville, Ohio) grabbed an offensive rebound and made a layup with 29 seconds left to get the Wildcats to within 49-45.
West Virginia missed the front end of a 1-and-1 opportunity and redshirt freshman Tia Grant (Lido Beach, N.Y.) made a jumper in the lane with 21 seconds showing to make the score 49-47. The Mountaineers then proceeded to miss two free throws with 11 seconds left and Getty tied the game on a jumper with just four seconds on the clock.
The teams traded baskets on the first several possessions of the first overtime period and Villanova took a 54-53 lead on a three-pointer by sophomore Lisa Karcic (New Hyde Park, N.Y.) with 1:12 left. Karcic made a layup with only 15 seconds remaining to make the score 56-53, but the Mountaineers converted a three-point play with nine seconds left that tied the score 56-56. Chakhia Cole drove to the basket for a layup and was fouled to set up a game-tying free throw. The Wildcats turned the ball over on their last possession of the period but West Virginia was unable to get off a shot in the waning seconds left on the clock.
The five Villanova starters combined to play an average of 42.6 minutes per person and consumed more than 85 percent of the minutes for the Wildcats. All five scored in double figures, as Karcic led the way with 18 points and 14 rebounds to join Witman with a double-double. Senior forward Jackie Adamshick (Allentown, Pa.) added 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists, while Getty finished with 11 points and Grant scored 10 points in a team-high 48 minutes.
Cole led West Virginia with 23 points, while Olayinka Sanni and Lateefah Joye each scored 10 points.
It didn't seem as though the game would come down to such crucial plays in the closing minutes and seconds of regulation and the extra periods. The Wildcats began the second half with a long 19-2 run to come from behind and take a 40-28 lead at the 9:51 mark of the period. The Mountaineers went scoreless for the nine-plus minutes of the half and made just one field goal in the first 11:32 of the period.
The tables started to turn on a steal and subsequent fast-break layup by LaQuita Owens with just over eight minutes remaining in regulation. By the time Villanova found itself staring at a desperation comeback situation in the final minute, the Mountaineers had gone on a 21-3 run to turn a 12-point deficit into a six-point lead, their largest lead of the game. The Wildcats went 1-for-12 from the field with six turnovers during that run, when the last 15 West Virginia points came unanswered before Getty's layup with 29 seconds left started to turn the tide.
Although the Mountaineers made 10-of-16 (62.5%) free throws for the game, five of their misses came in the final 47 seconds of regulation. On the flip side, Villanova was 13-of-19 (68.4%) from the charity stripe but was at its best when the shots meant the most, going 6-of-7 in overtime.
The Wildcats started each of the first two periods with stifling defensive play, holding West Virginia scoreless for the first 5:16 of the game and scoring the first seven points. After halftime, Villanova scored the first 14 points to erase what had been a 26-21 halftime deficit. The Mountaineers ended the first half on a 9-3 run in the last 2:46.
Adding a bit of intrigue to the outcome of the game is that the two teams will have another regular season meeting, which is scheduled for January 20 in Morgantown beginning at Noon. Villanova is next in action on the road against Syracuse on Tuesday evening at 7:00 p.m.