Nov. 11, 2007
BALTIMORE, Md. - Despite four ties and seven lead changes just in the second half, a cold shooting touch from the field ended up being the decisive factor on Sunday afternoon as Villanova (1-1) was defeated 49-47 by Loyola (Md.) (2-0) at Reitz Arena. The Wildcats made only 6-of-25 (24%) shots in the second half and suffered their first loss of the season.
A free throw by junior Laura Kurz (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.) with 2:03 remaining gave Villanova its final lead of the game at 44-42. However, the Wildcats did not score again until a three-pointer by junior Lisa Karcic (New Hyde Park, N.Y.) at the final buzzer and the Greyhounds scored seven straight points to secure the victory.
Meghan Wood made a layup with 1:45 left to tie the score at 44-44 and, after a missed jump by Karcic on the other end, Loyola went ahead to stay. Tynisha Davis made a layup with 53 seconds remaining for a 46-44 lead and Candice Walker sank two free throws with 34 seconds left after a missed three-pointer by Villanova.
The Greyhounds were 6-of-7 from the foul line in the final five minutes of the contest and the Wildcats made only two field goals in the final six-plus minutes. Karcic led all scorers with 16 points on 5-of-17 shooting, including 3-of-10 from three-point range. Kurz added 10 points and seven rebounds, while senior Stacie Witman (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) chipped in nine points and four boards on 3-of-11 shooting.
Erica DiClemente was the lone Loyola player in double figures, with 10 points. Wood and Katilin Grant added eight points apiece for the Greyhounds, who overcame a strong Villanova defensive effort on leading scorer Vika Sholokhova. In 25 minutes, Sholokhova was 1-of-10 from the field and finished with three points and a game-high eight rebounds.
A pair of free throws by Witman in the opening minute of the second half matched the largest Wildcat lead of the game at eight points, 28-20. After a layup by Witman at the 17:09 mark of the period put Villanova ahead 30-23, the Wildcats endured a seven-minute stretch in which they committed four turnovers and were 1-of-7 from the field. Even still, two free throws by Karcic with 10:19 to play restored a 35-34 Villanova advantage.
Wood answered those foul shots with two of her own moments later to give the Greyhounds a 36-35 lead, but a layup by Kurz was followed by a steal from Witman and three-pointer from junior Siobhan O'Connor (West Chester, Pa.) to give the Wildcats a 40-36 lead with 6:40 remaining. Loyola scored the next six points to retake the lead before the closing minutes of the contest finally determined the outcome.
The two teams were never separated by more than eight points at any point in the game and the five-point cushion for the Greyhounds before the game-ending three-pointer by Karcic was their largest of the game. In the first half, Loyola led 9-8 at the 13:17 mark of the period before a 14-5 Villanova run over the next nine minutes gave the Wildcats a 22-14 lead with 4:05 remaining before intermission. Villanova led 26-20 at halftime.
The Wildcats are off until next Sunday, when they visit Monmouth for a 3 p.m. contest.
NOTES: Sophomore Tia Grant (Lido Beach, N.Y.) scored four points and dished out a game-high four assists for Villanova ... The Wildcats were 9-of-10 from the charity stripe and through their first two games have made 18-of-19 free throws (94.7%) ... Villanova had not lost a game in which it held the opposition to fewer than 50 points since a 45-42 loss at Syracuse on January 29, 2005 ... Since then, the Wildcats had been 17-0 when holding their opponent to fewer than 50 points ... Villanova has attempted more three-pointers than two-point shots in each of its first two games ... So far this season the Wildcats are shooting 17-of-60 (.283) from beyond the three-point arc and 21-of-44 (.477) from inside long range.