ANN ARBOR, MICH. – The Villanova Wildcats gave a valiant effort but came just short in a 65-61 loss at Michigan in the semifinal round of the WNIT. With the loss, the Wildcats finish the season at 20-15, while the Wolverines improve to 27-9 on the season.
Michigan will advance to the WNIT championship game and will host Georgia Tech on Saturday at 3 p.m.
With the score tied at 32-32 with 7:27 remaining in the third quarter, the Wolverines finished the quarter on a 16-4 run to take a 48-36 lead after three. Michigan sophomore center Hallie Thome led the way during the spurt with eight points.
The Wolverines tallied the first four points of the fourth quarter to open up their largest lead of the game at 52-36 with 8:58 remaining. After a three by Wildcat freshman Kelly Jekot made it a 52-39 game, Michigan junior guard Katelynn Flaherty drained a 15 foot jumper to make it a 54-39 contest.
Following the Flaherty bucket, Villanova went on a 13-3 run to slice the Wolverine advantage to 57-52 with 4:56 remaining. Senior forward Samantha Wilkes highlighted the Wildcat run by scoring eight points, including two three-point field goals and a running lay-up. The other five points in the spurt were registered by junior guard Alex Louin on a three and a lay-up.
Michigan responded by scoring the next five points of the game to go back up double digits at 62-52 with 2:45 on the clock. The Wildcats then answered with five consecutive points of their own on a jumper by Louin and a three ball by junior center Megan Quinn. The Quinn trifecta made it a 62-57 game at the 2:02 mark.
After neither team was able to score for the next 1:30, Michigan went one-of-two from the foul line to increase its lead to 63-57 with 32 seconds remaining. A Wilkes lay-up cut the Michigan lead to 63-59, before the Wolverines split a pair of free throws to make it a 64-59 game with 18 seconds to go. Louin made it a one possession game at 64-61 with 12 seconds remaining, but Flaherty went one-of-two from the free throw stripe to push it back to a two possession game at 65-61.
In the loss, Louin led the way with 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Sophomore guard Adrianna Hahn tallied 12 points on four three-point field goals, while Wilkes finished with 10 points and five rebounds. Quinn chipped in with eight points and eight rebounds.
Michigan was paced by Thome with 22 points and Flaherty who had 18 points. Jillian Dunston added eight points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
For the game, Villanova shot 40.0 percent from the field (24-of-60), 40.0 percent from three-point range (12-of-30) and 50.0 percent from the foul line (1-of-2), while Michigan was 26-of-63 (41.3%), 5-of-19 from long distance (26.3%) and 8-of-14 from the charity stripe (57.1%). The Wolverines owned a 40-33 advantage on the backboards. Villanova was charged with just seven turnovers.
NOTES: Alex Louin averaged 17.8 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per contest in the five WNIT games…Tonight was just the second all-time meeting between the Wildcats and Wolverines…Villanova is now 15-10 all-time in the WNIT…The Wildcats finished the year with an 11-6 road record…Villanova was 50-of-60 from the foul line (83.3%) in the five games of the WNIT…Alex Louin finished the season with 25 double digit scoring games…With her 14 points tonight Alex Louin moved past Devon Kane, Kathy Straccia and Jenn Beisel and into 22nd place on Villanova’s all-time scoring list…Adrianna Hahn had 18 double figure scoring games this season…The Wildcats have made at least one three-point field goal in 429 straight games…Villanova led the country for the third straight year and six times in the last nine years at 9.4 per game.