Dec. 3, 2006
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Despite going without a field goal for the final 11:22 of the contest, Villanova (4-4, 1-1 Big Five) made nine free throws in the final 58 seconds and held on for a 57-50 victory over Penn (2-3, 0-2 B5) on Sunday afternoon at the Palestra.
The Wildcats opened their largest lead of the game, 48-34, with 11:22 remaining after a jumper by senior forward Jackie Adamshick. However, Villanova then went scoreless for more than 10 minutes and missed nine straight field goal attempts as the Quakers rallied with a 12-0 run to get within 48-46 on a three-pointer with 3:51 remaining.
Despite having four possessions with a chance to tie or take the lead, Penn produced three missed shots of their own and one turnover as the Wildcats maintained their slim advantage. Sophomore Lisa Karcic (New Hyde Park, N.Y.) was fouled with 58 seconds left and made two free throws to restore the lead to two possessions at 50-46.
The Quakers never got closer than that margin in the waning seconds and Villanova made the front end of three straight one-and-one opportunities along the way to securing the win. Sophomore Siobhan O'Connor (West Chester, Pa.) made four free throws in the final 40 seconds and redshirt freshman Maria Getty (Centerville, Ohio) made three shots from the foul line.
Karcic had her second double-double in the last three games with 19 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Wildcats. She was 5-of-13 from the field and made all six of her free throw attempts as Villanova went 15-of-17 (88%) from the charity stripe. Karcic and Getty each made three 3-pointers and Getty finished with a season-high 16 points and five rebounds along with a team-best three assists. Adamshick added 10 points and eight rebounds.
Penn led by as many as five points on two occasions early in the game but a three-pointer by Karcic with 8:16 left in the opening period gave the Wildcats the lead for good. Joey Rhoads scored a game-high 21 points and Monica Naltner turned in a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Quakers.
Karcic was front and center during a 13-2 first half run during which Villanova pulled away from a 17-17 tie to take a 30-19 lead with 2:39 remaining in the period. Karcic had two 3-pointers and 10 of her points during the run, and the Wildcats eventually led 32-24 at halftime.
Villanova returns home for the first time since November 19 when it hosts University of South Florida on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. The contest marks the BIG EAST opener for both teams.
NOTES: The Wildcats are now 19-2 all-time at the Palestra and lead the series with Penn 32-2.