Villanova celebrated Christmas a little bit early. The Wildcats spent their Thanksgiving weekend in Bethlehem, Pa. for the Lehigh Christmas City Classic. They beat Drexel 67-55 in the opening round to notch their third straight win of the season.
Caroline Coyer continues her strong all-around play, leading the way with 22 points, eight rebounds, and two assists.
She wasn’t the only one to finish in double figures, as three other Wildcats also joined the club. Freshman Adrianna Hahn had 15 points. Katherine Coyer displayed a nice, efficient balance of pulling up from the perimeter and driving inside. She added 12 points, including a perfect 2-for-2 from long range and 6-for-6 performance at the free throw line. Jordan Dillard added another 10 points.
Villanova spotted Drexel a 7-0 lead to start. The Dragons eventually made it 11-6 midway through the first quarter. The Wildcats would respond with a 12-2 run in the waning minutes of the quarter that was highlighted by a three-point shooting barrage. The Coyer twins and Hahn helped add three straight baskets from long range. Hahn followed it up with an and-one in the closing seconds of the quarter.
The Wildcats entered the second quarter with a seven point lead and kept the Dragons at bay, maintaining separation throughout. Villanova took a 29-22 lead over Drexel going into halftime.
At the start of the second half, Villanova continued to maintain its control of the game. A Caroline Coyer three-pointer stretched the Wildcats’ lead into double figures for the first time, making it 37-27.
However, Drexel finally got it going. The Dragons used an 11-4 run to catapult themselves back into the game. Rachel Pearson drained a three-pointer to make it only 41-38 in Villanova’s favor. Katherine Coyer would answer right back with a three, but it was Drexel who had the last laugh with a Carrie Alexander layup.
The Wildcats held a narrow 44-40 lead to start, and the Dragons made it even closer in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. With 7:24 remaining in the game, Sarah Curran made a layup to make it 46-44.
It would be the closest Drexel ever got to tying the game, as Villanova would bolster its lead as the Dragons began to go cold on the floor.
Coming down the stretch, Drexel made it close again. However, just as it did before, Drexel couldn’t make the shots it needed to take control.
Once the Dragons started fouling the Wildcats to slow them down at the end, missed shots and turnovers plagued them in the end.
Meanwhile, Villanova continued to confidently make their free throws to put the game out of reach.
The final buzzer sounded and Villanova won 67-55.
For Drexel, the Dragons also had four different players finish in double figures. Rachel Pearson had 14 points before fouling out. Sarah Curran added 13 points and five rebounds. Jackie Schluth chipped in 10 points and six rebounds. Alexis Smith led a strong effort off the bench with 11 points and nine rebounds.
The Wildcats will take on host Lehigh tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 p.m.