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, January 20, 2018

Postgame Scout: Poise, Patience and Hot Shooting Lead Villanova to Prized Big East Win Over DePaul

Guru’s Note: Our Postgame Scout was at the scene here at Villanova Friday night to provide some extra analysis to the Wildcats’ win over DePaul in the Big East. 

PS will next be on the scene Wednesday for the showdown at Temple between the host Owls and Penn at 7 p.m. at McGonigle Hall to determine who gets to share the Big Five crown with Villanova.

By Postgame Scout

VILLANOVA — DePaul opened the game against Villanova with an aggressive, full court, denial, man to man defense and the Wildcats loved it!  

Villanova systematically broke the pressure; protected the basketball and ran circles around the Blue Demons in their first of two Big East confrontations of the season, the second of which will be in Chicago at the Wintrust Arena, DePaul’s new home which will also serve as host of the conference tourney in March.
The opening stanza belonged to the Wildcats.

 Villanova scored at the rim by pounding the ball inside or scoring by passing to the weak side cutter who curled or slipped a screen for a 19-5 lead after the first quarter. 

 The tone had been set.
The more pressure applied by DePaul the easier it was for Villanova to get to the rim. 

  Credit the Wildcats for not allowing DePaul to get into their rhythm and for rebounding.
DePaul closed the gap by hitting quick three’s; playing at a faster pace and exhibiting more physicality on the screen defense. 

 With the increased pressure and physical screen defense, Villanova at times became stagnate and forced shots as time ran out.  So the Wildcats isolated Alex Louin, who scored at will.
Villanova’s ability to have more than one player bring the ball up the court was key to handling DePaul’s pressure and kept point guard Adrianna Hahn from wearing down.
DePaul had trouble mounting a run and went to a half court scramble defense to try to force turnovers.  

Villanova answered with patience, passing and nailing the open 3 from the deep corner.
The game was a study in contrast. 

DePaul wants to play fast.  They want to force turnovers and move the ball quickly.  They have scorers with long range who want the ball and want to shoot.
Villanova was poised and patient.  They would NOT be rushed.  They used the dribble sparingly and rendered DePaul’s denial defense ineffective.  
Rather than steal the ball, DePaul was forced to defend movement; screening and passing for most of the 30 second shot clock.  

The Blue Demons’ number of possessions was limited and they never found their rhythm.  Villanova controlled the tempo and controlled the game.