Sunday, November 24, 2019

November 17th, 2019: Villanova at Fordham

Just the Facts, Ma'am: Post play fueled Villanova in their 73-66 win over Fordham. Madison Siegrist led the Wildcats with 29 points, with Mary Gedaka hot on her heels at 27 points. Bre Cavanaugh had 23 points to lead Fordham in the loss.

For unstoppable forces, a local inversion of reality, back pain, betting the dogs, a light roast, and dazed confusion, join your intrepid blogger after the jump.
One quick change and a scoot down the aisle later, your intrepid blogger is back in her accustomed perch behind the Fordham bench, as the Rams prepare to defend the A-10's honor against the Big East's Villanova Wildcats.

I don't know who this dude in the Penn State sweatshirt is, but I'm pretty sure that by wearing that he has declared himself the sworn enemy of everyone in the building, so well done there.

SHU friends and family have gathered in the corridor to greet their team. We are not over there, obviously, because right now we are Fordham fans.

I'm not sure if the stippling on Fordham's warm-up shirts is intentional or born from laundry, but it looks cool.

A dude in a Phillies cap just plopped himself down behind the Fordham bench, so this is probably going to be fun.

(Sidebar: Ms. Carangi and Ms. Siegrist were announced as “Sam” and “Maddie” respectively, but they're on Villanova's roster as Samantha and Madison, so I'll be referring to them by their full first names.)

20-14 Villanova end Q1. Madison Segrist has A) a lot of friends and family in attendance, B) 15 points. Neither of these sparks joy.

31-21 Villanova at half. Segrist has sat down, but Mary Gedaka picked up the baton with 9 of her 11 points in the second quarter. You know, I could have just had my wisdom teeth extracted.

Shout out to the dude in the student section in the A'ja Wilson jersey.

Two pregame ceremonies today, one honoring Coach Peretta on his upcoming retirement and one for Coach Gaitley's 1000th game.

48-42 Villanova end Q3. We tied it and then Nova remembered what threes are.

I'm not saying that we have issues with consistency, but if we could get maybe three players to play at or above average, we could actually win some of these games that we keep falling apart in. It's frustrating. We don't seem to have finishing ability. And when we pressed, Villanova was able to pass out to the wide open player under the basket. I'm not used to Villanova using the post so effectively and so heavily. Is this Peretta's version of a midlife crisis?

I'm also not used to Villanova not going that deep. Mackenzie Gardler came in briefly in the first half to give the guards a break, but I don't think she played in the second half. She's small but not all that quick, which is not a good combination. Brooke Mullin's first shot was a disaster, but once she got off one with her feet squared and time to set, it was worthy of her last name. She found her stroke in the second half to help Villanova pull away. Samantha Carangi came in to run point for long stretches- she was first off the bench in both halves. She was pretty solid on the intangibles.

I would not have expected an experienced senior like Bridget Herlihy to commit a stupid touch foul while leading in a two-three possession game with somethine like two minutes left to put the opponent in the penalty. She did lay some monster blocks on our guards, though. Made it hard to drive. I don't even remember Madison Segrist picking up the first two fouls, though that would be a reasonable explanation for why she was MIA in the second quarter. That kid is fast, and she's the usual Villanova match-up issue for a big- she can take you outside or inside. So she pretty much got what she wanted, whenever she wanted it, and when she didn't, she got the rebound. We did a not-terrible job of keeping Mary Gedaka off the offensive glass, but she more than made up for it with hard drives and an ability to create space for herself with excellent body control.

Cameron Onken had a really fantastic hustle play in the first quarter to break up a Fordham break. She was pretty good on defense. Raven james drove and dished effectively to set up the bigs (who also did a pretty good job of setting themselves up with dribble drives, to be fair).

I look at this and it looks like I'm short-changing the guards, but honestly, the starting guards for Villanova did not distinguish themselves well. The three-point offense mostly came from the bench or from the posts, which is either a credit to our defense or a credit to Madison Segrist, and I think I know who I'm crediting here.

Officiating made themselves heard in the second half, but we got ourselves into as much un-called trouble as we did called un-trouble. I have no right to be upset.

Clever things veteran coaches do: Bre Cavanaugh hits a deep jumper that's called a three on the floor but looks like a long two, putting Fordham within one and extending a Rams run. Peretta calls timeout. It's not just a smart move to curtail the run- I'd bet dollars to donuts he knew that call would be reversed, and made sure to call timeout so that the refs would review right then and there, taking the point off the board and messing up Fordham's momentum just that much more.

I don't know what to do with this Fordham team. It seems like if everyone could maybe get on the same page in the same game, we could make some noise. But right now we're playing like a box of puzzle pieces that's been dropped on the floor and played around with by a hyperactive six-year-old. Sometimes things fit together, but mostly they don't, no matter how hard we hammer at them.

Katie McLoughlin came on for hustle, but the biggest problem with her is that she doesn't bring anything else to the table. She fights for boards, and sometimes she even gets them, but she doesn’t score and her defense has yet to develop. I continue to wonder what's going on with Zara Jillings. Something's not right with her, and it's throwing off all our rotations, because we have very little height and if she's not contributing then we end up with Kendell Heremaia, Power Forward Extrordinaire, and I don't like that plan. Megan Jonassen was physical, but not much else.

Sarah Karpell looked really good- she's developing good defensive instincts quickly and demonstrating good court awareness. She started off the season with a bad game, but she's shaken it off in a hurry. Anna DeWolfe scored most of her points late, and I thought she looked like she was in over her head a little bit. Bre Cavanaugh looked like her old self in the second half, scoring with confidence and getting to the line. It took her a while to get going, and I worry about that still.

Have I mentioned how unenthused I am about the concept of Kendell Heremaia, Power Forward Extrordinaire? Because I love Kene, and all gods know that she tries to match up with the bigs, but she doesn't have the height and she doesn't have the quickness to get into the positions she needs to be in if she's going to make up for that. I do also need Kene to remember who her teammates are, because this is the second time in three games I've seen her take out a teammate in pursuit of a rebound. This time it was Anna. The people in the white jerseys are your friends, Kene. (Unless you're on the road.) Kaitlyn Downey was ineffective and often in foul trouble. We need her to be more consistent. I don't know what else to say.

Time and score awareness: on one possession, Sarah gets the offensive rebounds and keeps feeding Kaitlyn for three-point attempts; on the next possession, Anna gets the offensive rebound and immediately puts it back. IMO, we needed threes more than twos in that stretch, but looking back, I understand Anna's logic too.

I don't know what else to say about Fordham. There were moments when it worked, but then we couldn't execute. It feels like it was forever ago. I can't get a sense of this team and who they are yet.

Someone in the student section brought a drum. I question his reading of the rules on artificial noisemakers, but as long as he doesn't get in trouble, I'm down with it. I hope these heartbreakers don't dissuade the student section from showing up and getting loud- this team needs and deserves that kind of support at every game.

We can beat Northeastern, right? Right?

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