Emily Esposito didn’t attempt a single shot in Villanova’s loss to Georgetown in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament. Brianna Herlihy had only made five three-pointers all season.
But on Friday night, they came up big in Villanova’s 86-81 win over Old Dominion at Finneran Pavilion.
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Esposito made her first career start, filling in for the injured Kelly Jekot, and she made quite an impression. The redshirt freshman scored 27 points on 10-of-21 shooting, including 7-of-14 from three-point range.
Herlihy, a 27.8 percent career three-point shooter, hadn’t made more than two treys in a game in her college career. She hit a pair in the third quarter, then hit another in the fourth – and it was a buzzer-beater that sent the game to overtime tied, 69-69.
Villanova won the overtime period easily, making five of six field goal attempts while ODU made four of 11.
The Wildcats will play at West Virginia on Sunday at 3 p.m. in the second round. The winner will face either Toledo or Northwestern, with the venue to be determined after the games.
Penn put aside the sting of losing the Ivy League tournament final this past Sunday and routed American, 64-45, at the Palestra.
The Quakers led from start to finish, and often by a lot. The score was was 16-5 after the first quarter, 38-17 at halftime and 54-35 at the end of the third. American started the fourth quarter on a 5-0 run, but Penn scored the game’s next six points to fend off any trouble.
Ashley Russell led all scorers with 18 points, including 4-of-5 three-point shooting, and had five assists; Eleah Parker had 16 points, 17 rebounds, 2 blocks and 1 steal; and Phoebe Sterba had 15 points, 6 rebounds, 1 block and 1 steal.
Penn will play Providence in the second round on Sunday at 4 p.m. in Providence. Penn bid to host the game, but the WNIT’s organizers chose to go the other way.
If the Quakers win, they’ll play the winner of Sunday’s Georgetown at Harvard game.
CAA Player of the Year Bailey Greenberg shot just 4-of-15 from the field, while four Harvard players reached double figures in scoring as the Crimson beat the Dragons, 69-56, at Lavietes Pavilion in Boston.
Harvard built up a 14-point lead early in the third quarter, but Drexel rallied to within 62-56 with just under a minute to go. The Crimson then hit seven of eight free throws to seal the game.