VILLANOVA, Pa. - The No. 24/25 Villanova Wildcats led wire to wire on Sunday afternoon and tallied a convincing 79-44 win over the visiting Saint Joseph’s Hawks. With the victory, the Wildcats improve to 7-0 overall and 1-0 in Philadelphia Big Five play, while the Hawks fall to 5-2 overall and 0-2 in City Series action.
Villanova raced to a quick 13-2 lead midway through the first quarter. Sophomore guard Kelly Jekot and junior forward Jannah Tucker led the early charge, with Jekot scoring three lay-ups and Tucker adding a three-ball and a lay-up.
After a jumper by Hawk senior Chelsea Woods made it a 13-4 game, Villanova ran off seven straight points to open up a 20-4 advantage. The seven points included a Jekot lay-up, a running lay-up by sophomore Mary Gedaka and a three by sophomore guard Grace Stant. The Wildcat would lead 20-6 at the end of quarter number one.
Saint Joseph’s started the second quarter with a lay-up by Adashia Franklyn on its first possession to slice the Wildcat advantage to 20-8. Villanova then used an 11-0 spurt to take a 31-8 lead at the 5:52 mark. Gedaka and Jekot were dominant in the run with Jekot scoring seven points and Gedaka four.
The Wildcats would use the 11-0 run to propel them to a commanding 39-14 halftime lead. Villanova finished the first half shooting 63.0 percent from the field on a 17-of-27 effort. Jekot led Villanova in the first half making 8-of-9 from the floor for 18 points. Saint Joseph’s was 6-of-25 from the field for 24.0 percent, including going 0-for-3 from behind the arc.
Villanova led 44-19 with 7:51 remaining in the third quarter when Tucker drained a three from the left wing to make it a 47-19 game. Following two free throws by Woods, Jekot scored on a driving lay-up and Tucker connected on another triple from the corner. The Tucker three-ball pushed the Wildcat lead over 30 for the first time at 52-21.
Saint Joseph’s would not get within 30 the rest of the way and Villanova would lead by as many as 37 to cruise to the victory.
In the win, Jekot scored a career-high 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting, including a 2-of-6 effort from three-point range and a 3-of-3 performance from the foul line. She also had a game-high six assists, five rebounds, two blocks and a steal. Gedaka finished with 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting, while Tucker was 5-of-10 from the field and 3-of-7 from three for 13 points.
The Hawks were paced by Franklyn with 10 points. She was the only Saint Joseph’s player in double figures.
For the game, Villanova was 31-of-56 from the floor (55.4%), 7-of-19 from three (36.8%) and 10-of-11 from the foul line (90.9%), while the Hawks shot 29.6 percent from the field (16-of-54), 00.0 percent from behind the arc (0-for-5) and 80.0 percent from the charity stripe (12-of-15). Villanova owned a 35-29 advantage on the backboards.
The Wildcats return to action on Wednesday, Dec. 6, with a game at Fairfield. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
NOTES: Today’s 35 point win over Saint Joseph’s was the Wildcats largest victory ever against the Hawks…Villanova has now won three straight over Saint Joseph’s…The Wildcats improve to 113-38 all-time in Big Five games…Villanova is 22-4 in its last 26 Big 5 contests…The Wildcat sophomore class of Kelly Jekot, Mary Gedaka, Grace Stant and Bridget Herlihy combined to score 54 points and shot 22 of 36 for 61.1 percent…Villanova had an assist on 18 of its 31 field goals.