Top-seeded Villanova advances to inaugural WBIT championship game with 58-53 win over Penn State


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Lucy Olsen scored 21 points and Kaitlyn Orihel added 13 to lead Villanova past Penn State 58-53 in Monday’s first Women’s Basketball Invitational Tournament semifinal.

Olsen also had six assists and six rebounds while Bella Runyan finished with 10 points, five rebounds and four assists.

The Wildcats (22-12) will face fourth-seeded Illinois (18-15) in the inaugural tourney’s championship game Wednesday in Indianapolis.

Penn State was led by Leilani Kapinus with 18 points, 13 rebounds and four assists. Ashley Owusu had 11 points for the Nittany Lions (22-13).

Featuring a pair of No. 1 seeds from Pennsylvania, the game turned into a gritty slugfest featuring 39 turnovers, 27 fouls and in which neither team shot better than 39% from the field.

Villanova looked to be in control late in the third quarter when the Nittany Lions missed seven of their last eight shots, going scoreless for the final 2:24, while the Wildcats made five of their final seven shots and took their largest lead of the game, 43-33, on Megan Olbrys’ layup with 52 seconds left.

But Penn State charged back midway through the fourth, cutting the deficit to 45-43 when Kapinus scored with 5:14 left. The Nittany Lions could have tied the score after forcing a turnover on the ensuing possession only to give the ball right back to Villanova.

The Nittany Lions got one more shot to tie it with 1:03 to play following another Villanova turnover, but Owusu’s contested layup rolled off the rim and the Wildcats closed it out at the free-throw line.


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Author : Associated Press

Publish date : 2024-04-01 21:06:22

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