Villanova Defeats Xavier in OT Thriller Behind 20 Points from Raven James

A career-high 20 points from Raven James led the Wildcats past the Musketeers, 64-56, in overtime on Friday in the first round of the Big East Tournament.

With 51 seconds remaining in the game, James hit a three-pointer to give ‘Nova a 49-44 lead. After a layup from Xavier’s Ayanna Townsend cut the deficit back to three with 13 seconds remaining, Townsend fouled redshirt freshman Maddy Siegrist on the other end of the court. With the chance to seal the game, Siegrist missed both shots, giving the Musketeers a chance to tie the game at 49.

Despite going 0-9 from the three-point line for nearly the entire game, at the buzzer, Xavier’s Aaliyah Dunham sunk a three, sending the game to OT, 49-49.

The ‘Cats controlled overtime, breaking away in the final seconds of gametime to secure its largest lead of the game, 64-56. James scored eight of her 20 points in OT. She shot six-of-eight from the floor, including six-of-seven three-pointers. Senior Mary Gedaka added 19 points and 12 rebounds, securing her seventh double-double of the season. Senior Bridget Herlihy scored 13 points, and Siegrist totaled nine points and a season-high 17 rebounds, despite shooting 3-19 from the floor. Earlier this week, Siegrist and Gedaka were named first team All-Big East. Siegrist was unanimously named Big East Freshman of the Year, and she also earned a spot on the All-Freshman team.

A’Riana Gray led Xavier with a team-high 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Townsend added 13 points and 10 rebounds. 

The ‘Cats shot 33.8% from the floor, but converted only eight of its 33 three-point attempts (24.2%). The team struggled from the free-throw line, making only nine of its 17 foul shots in the fourth quarter and OT combined. 

The loss eliminates Xavier from the tournament, while ‘Nova extends its run. Up next, the team will face No. 2 Marquette in the second round. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. ET.