Feb. 12, 2005
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. - The only field goal of the game for junior forward Kate Dessart Mager (Media, Pa.) was the game-winner with 2.3 seconds left, and Villanova (14-8, 7-4 Big East) escaped the West Virginia Coliseum with a 52-51 victory over the Mountaineers (13-9, 4-7 Big East) on Saturday afternoon.
The Wildcats had possession of the ball under their own basket with five seconds remaining, and junior forward Liad Suez (Even-Yehuda, Israel) lobbed a pass to Dessart Mager, who caught the ball in the middle of the paint. Her fade-away jumper hit the rim and bounced around before falling through the net for the decisive points. With no timeouts remaining, the Mountaineers managed only a desperate heave at the buzzer.
West Virginia used a late 10-2 run in a span of just over five minutes to erase a 46-39 Villanova lead with 6:21 remaining. The spurt ended with a pair of free throws by Meg Bulger with 1:05 left that gave the Mountaineers a 49-48 lead. On the other end, Suez missed a layup with 42 seconds left, but grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled in the process. She made two foul shots of her own to return the lead to the Wildcats, 50-49.
Sherell Sowho then made two free throws for West Virginia with 32 seconds showing, giving the Mountaineers a 51-50 lead and setting up the final sequence of the game. The Wildcats had the ball with a two-second differential between the game clock and the shot clock, but West Virginia had a foul to give, and committed that foul with 26 seconds left. With the shot clock turned off, Villanova held for the last shot. The Wildcats used their final timeout with five seconds left, creating the inbound play that made possible Dessart Mager's heroics.
Sophomore forward Jackie Adamshick (Allentown, Pa.) led Villanova with 16 points and pulled down eight rebounds while playing the entire game. Suez posted a double-double with 15 points and a team-high 10 rebounds in 30 minutes off the bench. She connected on 5-of-9 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from behind the arc.
Bulger led the Mountaineers with game-highs of 20 points and 13 rebounds, while Yolanda Paige added 12 points, four rebounds and three assists.
Although there were nine lead changes in the game, including four in the final 1:05, the Wildcats actually held the lead for a total of 33 minutes in the game. The teams traded baskets in the opening minutes of the first half, but a layup by sophomore center Katia Levitsky (Herezelia, Israel) midway through the period gave Villanova a 13-12 lead. That lead would not be relinquished until Bulger's free throws put West Virginia ahead at the 1:05 mark.
The Wildcats led 34-32 with 14:07 remaining before going on a modest 7-2 run that stretched the score to 41-34. Suez scored all seven points during that run, which culminated in a three-pointer with 10:34 to play. Both sides added a pair of baskets in the next several minutes, before Bulger hit a jumper with 6:21 left to start the 10-2 run.
Villanova returns to action on the road this Wednesday with a 7:30 p.m. game against Providence. The Wildcats defeated the Friars at The Pavilion 45-34 last month.
NOTES: Villanova swept the season series against West Virginia, the team that eliminated the Wildcats from the Big East Tournament last season ... Villanova defeated the Mountaineers 58-52 at The Pavilion on Jan. 23 ... Villanova has won 23 of its past 24 games in the month of February, dating back to Feb. 9, 2002 ... The Wildcats committed just nine turnovers, marking the 11th time in 22 games this season and the sixth time in the past seven games that the squad has posted a single-digit total ... Villanova leads the nation with just 9.5 turnovers per game this season ... The Wildcats went 4-for-4 from the foul line, and are now 40-for-49 (81.6%) from the charity stripe in their last seven games ... Suez reached double figures for the 16th time this season and 36th time in her career ... Villanova is 12-4 this season and 30-6 in her career when she scores in double figures ... West Virginia's Yolanda Paige, who entered the game leading the nation with 9.3 assists per game, managed a total of just six assists in two games against the Wildcats this season.