On Monday, Nov. 22, the Villanova women’s basketball team traveled into Philadelphia to play the University of Pennsylvania Quakers at The Palestra. The Wildcats defeated the Quakers 66-63 for their second win in their second Big 5 game of the season, improving to 2-2 after starting the season with losses against Princeton and Maryland.
This was the 48th matchup between the Quakers and Wildcats, with the Wildcats having won 45 of those games. The last time the two teams faced off was in Jan. 2020 at the Finneran Pavilion, where the Wildcats won 70-58.
The Wildcats prevailed despite playing without their star player, junior forward Maddy Siegrist, who is currently out due to a wrist injury. Despite this, the team was able to hand the Quakers their first loss of the season, putting Penn’s record at 3-1.
Without Siegrist, sophomore forward Lior Garzon led the Wildcats with 21 points and four assists, followed by freshman guard Lucy Olsen, who scored 20 points and added an assist. The other two leading scorers were junior guard Brooke Mullin and graduate forward Brianna Herlihy, who scored 11 and nine points, respectively.
In the first quarter, the Wildcats heavily outshot the Quakers, taking 30 shots to Penn’s 14. Despite the Wildcats having more shooting opportunities, the period ended with both teams tied at 13, as the Wildcats shot just 25% from the field, 30% from the three-point line, while the Quakers made 45% of their shots and their only three-point shot.
The Wildcat offense improved in the second quarter, shooting 61.5% from the field and 60% from the three-point line, bringing their score up by 20 points. However, the teams went into halftime tied at 33, as the Quakers shot 53.8% from the field and 66.7% from the three-point line in the quarter.
In the third quarter, the Wildcats finally created separation, scoring 18 points to the Quakers’ 11. The Wildcats started the quarter on an 8-0 run behind threes from Herlihy and Garzon, and held the lead for the rest of the game.
The fourth period started with the Wildcats up 51-44. Villanova extended its lead to 12 points over the Quakers in the quarter, but the Quakers went on a 12-2 run of their own with two minutes remaining to get within two points of the Wildcats. Garzon hit a three to extend the lead again, and a three from Penn’s Lizzy Groetsch at the buzzer that would have tied the game rimmed out, ending the game 66-63 in the ‘Cats’ favor.
The Wildcats took 95 shots total and shot 40% from the field, 46.4% from the three-point line, and 71.4% from the free throw line. Villanova added 10 steals, but turned the ball over 19 times. The Quakers took 71 shots and shot 50% from the field, 44.4% from the three-point line, and 75% from the free throw line. Penn had 13 steals, but committed 22 turnovers.
After their second consecutive Big 5 win, the Wildcats next play their third Big 5 game on Saturday at home against Temple at 2 p.m. Following this, they will be hosting Lehigh University on Wednesday, Dec. 1, before traveling to their Big East opener at Providence College on Dec. 3.