Feb. 9, 2008
JAMAICA, N.Y. - Junior Lisa Karcic (New Hyde Park, N.Y.) drained three straight three-pointers in the final 4:51 to help Villanova (13-10, 3-7 Big East) pull away from a late tie and defeat St. John's (12-11, 3-7 Big East) on Saturday afternoon at Carnesecca Arena. Karcic finished with a career-high seven triples and a game-high 27 points in the win.
The Wildcats never trailed in the second half but still had to pull out a narrow victory in the closing minutes. After leading 55-47 with 8:14 to play, Villanova allowed eight unanswered points by the Red Storm and was tied 55-55 with its hosts with 5:52 remaining. The score was tied for the final time with 5:05 remaining when St. John's Kelly McManmon drained a three-pointer to make the score 58-58.
Karcic took over from there, giving the Wildcats the lead for good, 61-58, on a three-pointer with 4:51 to play. Her next make from long distance with 3:09 to play stretched the lead to four points and her final shot of the day made the score 67-61 with 59 seconds left. Senior Stacie Witman (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) added a pair of free throws with 29 seconds to play and a last-chance three-pointer by the Red Storm at the buzzer was off the mark.
The 27 points for Karcic were a season high and just two shy of her career-best scoring effort. She added six rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots in 37 minutes. Witman scored 21 points and pulled down a game-high eight rebounds as she and Karcic combined to go 18-of-30 from the field.
Villanova carried a slim three-point margin into halftime and maintained a lead of between two and eight points for the first 14 minutes of the second half. Junior Siobhan O'Connor (West Chester, Pa.) hit a three-pointer with 9:02 remaining and Witman followed with a jumper moments later for five unanswered points that made the score 55-47. However, Kia Wright and Monique McLean scored the next five points for St. John's and Tiina Sten tied the game on a jumper to set up the frenzied final minutes of the contest.
Wright made 9-of-13 from the field to lead the Red Storm with 23 points and five assists and McLean added 14 points. Joy McCorvey chipped in 10 points for St. John's, which turned the ball over just three times and outscored the Wildcats 17-3 from the foul line.
The Villanova advantage came from behind the arc, where the Wildcats owned a 12-3 edge in made shots for the afternoon. Villanova went 8-of-15 from three-point range in the decisive second half, including 6-of-10 accuracy from Karcic and Witman in the period.
The Wildcats snapped a three-game losing streak with the victory, although that stretch is taken in perspective when considering that Villanova had played three straight games against ranked opponents. The Wildcats return home on Tuesday at 8 p.m. to host Providence in a game that will be televised live on CSTV. Villanova defeated the Friars, 75-50, earlier this season.