Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Hahn's Career Night Leads Villanova Over Xavier in Double Overtime

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Bowl eligible.

That’s not the terminology used on the women’s collegiate basketball circuit.

However, in a parallel universe similar to their football counterparts, that’s what the Wildcats achieved Friday night here at home in the Pavilion with a gritty, gut-checking Big East 76-71 triumph over Xavier in double overtime as Adrianna Hahn hit a career-high 33 points.

Hahn single-handedly beat the Musketeers in the second period scoring all 11 of Villanova's points.

 The victory clinched a plus .500 won-loss record on the season to be eligible for at-large consideration in the 64-team WNIT, which attempts to take the best of Division I that did not land in the NCAA field.

“I know, that’s why this game was very important,” veteran Villanova coach Harry Perretta said after Hahn rescued the Wildcats (15-11, 10-5 Big East).

Winning here on Senior Day, when Butler visits Sunday, is also imperative considering the last two games on the pre-conference tournament schedule are at front-running DePaul and at Marquette, the team Villanova is chasing for third seed with a chance to catch the Warriors.

But Perretta wasn’t about to tell his players the significance beforehand.

Why get them extra jittery?

Furthermore, one had to be confident in the wake of the previous game played against the Musketeers (11-15, 3-12) in Cincinnati and won 72-47 on Jan. 28.

"I don't get too excited over it,” Perretta said of Friday's thriller. “It’s great for the team, it gives them confidence. It was just a great win.”

Furthermore, until eliminated from the hunt to land an NCAA automatic bid or at-large status, that’s where the focus is, according to Hahn.

"It would be cool to go to the WNIT, but we really want to reach for that NCAA because it hadn’t happened in a while and I think with the team we have, with this talent, we can definitely get there.”

Villanova is in fourth place but just a game behind Marquette, which plays front-running DePaul, the only nationally-ranked Big East team, Sunday and, then hosts Villanova in two of the Warriors’ last three games.

But the Wildcats will have to play at DePaul in Chicago next Friday and likely, unless someone helps in the Big East tourney at Marquette, knock out the Blue Demons and win the event to earn an automatic bid as the only path likely to the Big Dance.

Villanova is also only a game in front of St. John’s, but swept the Red Storm during the season and has momentum now winning four straight and 11 of 14 since 2017 arrived.

As for the game, it was a wild one with eight ties and eight lead changes and heroines stepping up on both sides throughout.

Hahn shot 7-for-21 from the field, including 7-for-14 on three-point attempts, and was also 6-for-8 from the line.

Alex Louin, who played all but one of the entire 50 minutes, had a double double with 18 points and 11 rebounds, and connected on three of the Wildcat’s season-high 15 treys, as did Megan Quinn, who had 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Samantha Wilkes grabbed 10 rebounds.

Villanova, known for its ball control, committed just five turnovers.

Raeshaun Gaffney had 16 points and 12 rebounds for Xavier while Kindell Fincher had 14 points, as did Marquia Turner.

  The extra 10 minutes matched a previous double overtime game, also a Wildcats win, as the longest two women’s games ever played at the Pavilion, though Villanova has played in similar games on the road in its history.

“It was one of those games, to be honest with you, we were just lucky,” Perretta said. “We missed four layups, which would have put us down one, instead we get a kick-out three, which tied the game.”

Hahn hit that shot with 15 seconds left in regulation and then took a charge.

“And the next time, we’re down two and run our panic-2 play and Alex gets to the hoop and they don’t want to foul and we get the game in double overtime,” Perretta replayed the action.

“And then Adrianna takes over in the double overtime. She’s been playing phenomenal. She’s been shooting the ball phenomenal. We have to get offense from our other players.”

In the second overtime, Xavier took a two-point lead, then Hahn, a graduate of Ursuline Academy in Wilmington, Del.,, got Villanova ahead with a trey.

Then both sides missed shots until Hahn was fouled and knocked down both free throws to make it 70-67 with 1:31 left in the second overtime.

Gaffney, on the ensuing Xavier possession, missed both foul shots, and then with 59 seconds left Hahn broke the game open with a trey for a six-point Wildcats lead.

Xavier got two back with a basket and then Hahn was fouled and when Musketeers coach Brian Neal had a comment or two to the official, a technical was assessed.

Hahn was 1-for-2 shooting the penalty and then hit the two she was entitled to for a seven-point lead with 19 seconds left.

Turner scored but failed to connect on the and-one for the final scoring for the game.

“It was tough,” Hahn said of the action. “It was very nerve-wracking because we would score, then they would come back, then we were down, so we just really made a lot of clutch shots and it just shows how much we built throughout the season because I bet if it had happened earlier, we probably would have lost the game and not even had overtime chances.

“So we just came together, we didn’t give up, Harry kept us motivated, our whole team, so we just stayed in it.”

As for her own game, Hahn said,

“I just kept shooting the ball, I was confident in my own shot. I missed a couple. I had a space of time where I was missing three or four in a row, so I just had to keep shooting.

“My defense in the beginning was pretty tough, the girl I was guarding was really quick, so I just had to stay low and play tough on her, she was pretty good.”

Hahn liked her trey that forced the overtime. “I thought she was going to tip it. I didn’t know if I was going to get it off in time. It was clutch. But then I turned around the charge on defense, so it was pretty cool.”

As for her own special show in the second overtime, Hahn related, “Once we were up three and I knocked down that three that put us up six, then I was really like, `Ok, we got this. It’s not going to go into a third overtime,’ but it was a pretty good feeling.

“Right now, we put ourselves in a pretty good position. So we need to win on Sunday and at least one more next weekend to get third place. Tonight we played well, we played tough, but we shouldn’t have put ourselves in that situation.”