Nov. 25, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - Junior Laura Kurz (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.) keyed a late run in regulation and put Villanova (4-1) ahead for good in overtime as the Wildcats edged host San Francisco (3-3) 73-70 in overtime to win the Odwalla Classic on Saturday night at War Memorial Gym. Kurz was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player after scoring 25 points and grabbing nine rebounds in tonight's championship game.
Villanova stormed back from a double-digit deficit with a 15-5 run in the second half but the Dons forced overtime with a buzzer-beating put back of a missed shot at the end of regulation. The Wildcats never trailed in the extra period and Kurz made a put-back layup of her own just over a minute into overtime that gave the visitors the lead once and for all.
Sophomore Maria Getty (Centreville, Ohio) made her fourth three-pointer of the game with 3:20 to play in overtime to give Villanova a 67-62 advantage and six free throws by the Wildcats in the final 1:56 were just enough to hold off San Francisco. The game featured four ties and four lead changes and the Wildcats came out on top against a Dons team that was playing its fourth overtime contest in six outings this season.
San Francisco led 44-34 with less than eight minutes left in regulation and 51-44 with fewer than five minutes remaining. Kurz scored 12 straight Villanova points in a pivotal stretch of the game, including a three-pointer with 4:28 showing that pulled the Wildcats to within 51-47.
The Dons pushed their lead to 54-49 with 3:32 left before Villanova scored seven straight to take a 56-54 lead. Getty made a three-pointer with 3:09 remaining, while Kurz tied the game with 2:24 left and made a layup with 1:51 to play to give the Wildcats their first lead since a 21-20 edge in the closing minutes of the first half.
The game was nearly won in regulation for Villanova after junior Siobhan O'Connor (West Chester, Pa.) made a three-pointer for a 59-56 margin with 23 seconds remaining. Getty made the front end of a 1-and-1 opportunity with 11 seconds to play but at the buzzer San Francisco's Dominique Carter rebounded her own missed layup and scored to send the game to overtime knotted at 60-60.
Kurz was joined on the all-tournament team by senior Stacie Witman (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) and junior Lisa Karcic (New Hyde Park, Pa.). The frontcourt trio combined for 123 points in two games at the Odwalla Classic, including 76 of the 83 Wildcat points in an 83-58 victory over South Alabama in the opening game.
Villanova claimed its seventh Thanksgiving weekend tournament championship in the last nine years thanks to Kurz scoring 23 of her 25 points after halftime in Saturday evening's title game. Karcic added 13 points and eight rebounds and Witman tallied nine points and eight boards for the Wildcats. Getty had a career-high 17 points and a team-high four three-pointers in the game.
It took the late-game heroics by Villanova to overcome an offensive slump late in the first half and a similarly cold start to the second period. The Wildcats led 11-2 in the first six minutes of the contest and 14-6 with 10:44 left before intermission. However, after a three-pointer by Karcic with 8:39 remaining in the half made the score 18-12, Villanova went scoreless for more than five minutes and entered halftime trailing 26-23.
The Dons scored eight straight points in just 1:17 and appeared in control with a 44-34 lead and less than eight minutes to play. The Wildcats got back into an offensive groove, though, scoring 26 points in the final 7:34 of regulation to lay the groundwork for the overtime victory.
Carter scored 18 points to lead four San Francisco players in double figures and Heidi Heintz contributed 15 points. Both players pulled down nine rebounds and the Dons owned a 43-36 edge on the glass. Shay Rollins scored 14 points and Katie Mihalco 11 for USF.
Villanova rediscovered its stroke from three-point range to surge to the victory. After beginning the game 4-of-13 from behind the arc in the first 29 minutes, the Wildcats went 7-of-10 from long range the rest of the way. That was more in line with the team-record tying 18 three-pointers from Friday night's game, and Villanova wound up going 29-of-52 (56%) from three-point range in the tournament.
The Wildcats finish their early five-game stretch of road games with four victories and next will play their home opener against Fairfield on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Pavilion.
NOTES: Villanova's last Thanksgiving tournament championship was at a tournament hosted by Rhode Island in 2005 ... The Wildcats are 63-31 (.670) overall in regular season tournament games ... The last overtime contest for Villanova was a 70-64 triumph in double overtime at home against West Virginia on January 6 last season ... The Wildcats were 2-0 in overtime games in 2006-07 and have won five straight overtime games since a loss to Connecticut in 1998 ... Kurz is the first Villanova player with at least 20 points in back-to-back games since Liad Suez-Karni did so on February 28 and March 4, 2006 ... Karcic has scored in double figures in four straight games ... Getty's previous career high was 16 points against Penn on December 3, 2006.