George Washington 57
After grabbing headlines for stopping Connecticut's 70-game winning streak earlier this season, Villanova broke George Washington's 10-game winning streak tonight and knocked the Colonials out of the NCAA women's basketball tournament.
The 70-57 victory sent the Wildcats (27-5) into a Mideast Region semifinal game in Knoxville, Tenn., against Colorado on Saturday. It is Villanova's first trip to the round of 16. The Colonials (25-7), while falling short in their bid to reach the round of 16 for the third time in school history, lost for the first time since Feb. 9.
Villanova's offense throughout this season has been dependent on its backcourt and tonight was no exception. Of the 62.9 points the Wildcats averaged this season, senior guards Katie Davis (North East, Md.) and Trish Juhline combined to average 33 points.
Though it took some early second-half minutes for Juhline to heat up, Davis led the Wildcats with 24 points and Juhline added 16, 14 in the second half.
Juhline's three-pointer with 16 minutes 41 seconds gone in the first half gave the Wildcats the lead for good, 30-27. Before that shot, she was 0 for 6 from three-point range and 1 for 9 overall. The Colonials started the second half with a pair of baskets from their two forwards, Anna Montanana and Ugo Oha, but the three-point shots by Villanova started adding up.
GW senior guard Lindsey Davidson, who tried to guard Davis, found it frustrating with the Wildcats' quick ball movement.
"When they do drive and you have somebody to come and help, they kick it out to the three and it's difficult to recover off that," said Davidson.
Juhline's three-pointer followed a miss from point-blank range inside by Oha, a problem that plagued the normally high-percentage shooting Colonials. GW entered the game ranked eighth in the nation with a 47.5 field goal percentage and the Colonials shot 43 percent for the game. The trouble was Villanova shot 42 percent, but was 11 for 28 from three-point range.
"[Villanova] really played a terrific second half," said Colonials Coach Joe McKeown. "We came out real strong starting out the second half and I thought we were going to go on a run and they answered with a barrage of threes."
Another Wildcats guard gave them a spark off the bench for the second straight game. Coming off a season-high 31-minute contribution against St. Francis, reserve Jen Hilgenberg hit a jumper with the shot clock winding down that gave the Wildcats a 21-19 lead with 6:01 left in the first half. It was the third of three straight baskets for Hilgenberg, who scored a career-high 14 points in 25 minutes.
Villanova Coach Harry Perretta savored his team's first trip to the round of 16.
"It's great for the kids first and it's good for the school," Perretta said. "It's always good when I guess you get a bunch of kids who overachieve as much as these kids have done all year. I'll be very honest with you, I'm amazed at 10 or 11 games that we were able to win."