History repeated itself on Friday night as the Wildcats defeated St. John’s in overtime for the second time this season, 66-64. The win brings Villanova’s overall record to 12-9, 6-4 in Big East play, and lowers St. John’s to 13-8 overall, with a 6-4 record in the Big East.
On Jan. 5th, when the ‘Cats visited the Red Storm, regulation ended with the score tied at 56. Once again, on Friday night, teams were sent to OT tied at 56.
A solid first quarter of offensive action allowed ‘Nova to stay in the game despite being outscored in the next two quarters. The team closed the quarter on a 10-0 run, six of those points coming from the free-throw line. On the defensive end of the court, the ‘Cats held St. John’s scoreless for the last five minutes of the quarter.
At the half, Villanova held a 30-23 lead. St. John’s, who shot only 26% from the floor in the first half, began to get hot when they went on a 7-0 team run at the four-minute mark in the third quarter. Senior Alisha Kebbe, who finished the night with 13 points and a team-high 14 rebounds, made a lay-up to give the Red Storm a 41-40 lead, their first since the score was 3-0.
With two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, redshirt freshman Madison Siegrist converted a three-point play after being fouled on a lay-up to bring the ‘Cats within two, 56-54. Following a missed three-pointer from junior Qadashah Hoppie, who finished with 10 points despite going 0-9 from three, Villanova called timeout with 13.3 seconds left on the clock. On their next possession, Siegrist hit a jumper with three seconds remaining to tie the game at 56. Siegrist finished with a team-high 22 points.
Overtime featured much of the same back-and-forth action seen in regulation, but ‘Nova immediately gained momentum when junior Raven James drained a three on the first possession, earning the team a 59-56 lead. The ‘Cats never relinquished that lead.
“We won the game by making more threes,” Head Coach Harry Perretta said.
At just under the two-minute mark in OT, James stole the ball on the defensive end, and in transition, hit junior Cameron Onken for a three. That basket extended the lead to 64-60. Threes separated Villanova from St. John’s in overtime, and despite getting back to within one point courtesy of a Hoppie lay-up, the ‘Cats were able to secure the win.
“I know Mary [Gedaka] and Maddy [Siegrist] played great, and we have to give them credit,” Perretta said. “But we won the game, basically, because Raven [James] hit two threes, Cameron Onken hit a three, so the other kids contributed by scoring the ball, and that’s the only way we can win the game.”
‘Nova shot 45% percent from beyond the arc, converting 10 of their 22 attempts, while the Red Storm shot just 12%, going 2-17. Despite outscoring the ‘Cats 42-18 in the paint and outrebounding the team 50-36, St. John’s was not able to stop Villanova’s efficient three-point offense.
Senior Mary Gedaka totaled 16 points and a team-high 13 rebounds on the night, while James and Onken finished with 7 and 9 points, respectively. Gedaka was the sole player on both teams to play the full 45 minutes of action.
Up next, the ‘Cats welcome Seton Hall to the Finneran Pavilion on Sunday for more Big East action. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m.