Dec. 5, 2007
VILLANOVA, Pa. - A quick start by junior forward Laura Kurz (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.) and a decisive run to close the first half paved the way for a 71-47 victory by Villanova (7-1, 3-0 Big Five) over visiting Saint Joseph's (5-3, 1-1 Big Five) on Wednesday evening at the Pavilion. Along the way to winning their sixth straight game, the Wildcats matched the Hawks for the most wins in the history of the Big Five with their 84th victory in City Series play. It was also the fifth win in the last six meetings for Villanova over their local rivals.
Kurz scored 10 of her game-high 22 points in the opening five minutes and finished the first half 8-of-8 from the field for 18 points. As a team, the Wildcats shot a torrid 67 percent (18-of-27) in the opening period and pulled out to a 46-26 halftime advantage. Villanova drained 9-of-15 three-pointers in the first 20 minutes and was also 9-of-12 from inside the arc.
Both teams came out firing at the game's outset and Saint Joseph's shot 50 percent (9-of-18) through the first 12 minutes to keep pace with the Wildcats. However, a layup by Kurz with 6:16 left in the first stanza kicked off an 18-7 run to end the half. Kurz scored seven points in that spurt and a three-pointer by sophomore Tia Grant (Lido Beach, N.Y.) as time expired appeared to seal the Hawks' fate.
Villanova shot 52 percent (26-of-50) for the game as Kurz finished with 22 points and seven rebounds. Junior forward Lisa Karcic (New Hyde Park, N.Y.) added 19 points, six rebounds, seven assists, four blocks and three steals in one of her best all-around games of the season. Sophomore Maria Getty (Centerville, Ohio) made four three-pointers and scored all 14 of her points in the first half.
Amy Gillespie came off the bench to lead Saint Joseph's with 13 points and Sarah Acker chipped in 12 points. Mary Kate McDade added five points, five assists and a game-high nine rebounds. The Wildcats allowed the opposition fewer than 50 points for the third straight game and fifth time in eight outings this season. After beginning the game 9-of-18 from the field in the first 12 minutes, the Hawks went 10-of-38 (26%) the rest of the way, including just 23 percent (7-of-30) shooting in the second half.
Senior Stacie Witman (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) contributed seven points and junior Siobhan O'Connor (West Chester, Pa.) added six points and five assists for Villanova, which has won six straight games for the first time since an eight-game winning streak that lasted from February 4 through March 2, 2004. The Wildcats are back at home on Saturday afternoon to George Washington at 1 p.m.
NOTES: Villanova is now 84-30 (.737) all-time in Big Five action ... The Wildcats have claimed at least a share of 11 Big Five titles under 30th-year head coach Harry Perretta ... Villanova has one City Series game remaining this season (at Temple on December 21) and a win in that game would clinch an outright title this season ... Karcic scored in double figures for the seventh straight game and established a career-high with the four blocks ... That total, as well as her seven assists, were the most by a Wildcat this season ... Kurz has scored at least 20 points in four of her last five games ... Villanova owns a +18.7 scoring margin during the six-game winning streak (66.2-47.5) ... The Wildcats are allowing an average of just 49.0 points per game this season and have given up more than 58 points just once in eight games ... Villanova began the week ranked 12th in the country in scoring defense ... The team finished the game 12-of-23 (52.2 percent) from behind the three-point arc ... The Wildcats lead the entire nation with 10.9 three-pointers made per game.