BERKELEY, Calif. – Villanova used a 20-0 run midway through the second quarter to turn a four-point lead into a 24-point advantage and the Wildcats led by at least 15 points for the rest of the game in a 78-54 win over the Hornets on Saturday at the Cal Classic in Berkeley.
Sophomore Maranne Johnson scored a career-high 22 points for Sacramento State (1-4), which was held to its lowest point total since scoring 53 two seasons ago at Idaho State. One of the best defensive teams in the nation, Villanova (5-2) held the Hornets to just 65 field goal attempts and 30.8% shooting for the game.
In the first game of the tournament on Saturday No. 17 California was upset by Saint Mary's, 64-63. The Gaels will face Villanova for the tournament title on Sunday after the Hornets play the host Golden Bears at 1 p.m. in the consolation game.
Leading just 23-19 with eight minutes remaining in the second quarter, Villanova made seven of its next eight shots while the Hornets went 0-of-4 with four turnovers over the next four minutes as the Wildcats took an insurmountable 43-19 lead.
Villanova led 47-24 at halftime after the Hornets shot just 25% in the first half with a stretch of 10 straight missed shots. Junior Brianna Burgos hit back-to-back 3-pointers to begin the game and the Hornets led 10-4 early before losing the lead for good with three minutes left in the first quarter.
Johnson shot a career-best 9-of-16 from the field and 2-of-4 from 3-point range to top her previous career-high scoring total of 20 points. She had 12 points in the third quarter, helping the Hornets get to within a 57-42 score in the last three minutes of the quarter but they could get no closer.
Burgos made a trio of threes for 12 points while junior Gretchen Harrigan had seven points and four rebounds. The Hornets hit eight 3-pointers but Villanova was two better, shooting 10-of-26 from beyond the arc. The Wildcats had a 55-34 edge in rebounds and was 18-12 in offensive boards, outscoring the Hornets 16-9 in second chance points.
Villanova shot 51.3% in the first half and 45.8% for the game. Sophomore Alex Louin was nearly unstoppable scoring a career-high 24 points with six rebounds before fouling out of the game. Adrianna Hahn hit four 3-pointers for 14 points and Megan Quinn had 12 points and 12 rebounds.
The Wildcats entered the game leading the NCAA with just eight turnovers per game and had 14 in the game, 12 less turnovers than teams had averaged against the Hornets through the first four games of the season. Sacramento State had just seven steals and was outscored 40-16 in the paint.
Sacramento State will be facing No. 17 Cal (5-2) on its home floor for the second consecutive season. The Hornets played the Bears close last season before Cal, then ranked No. 10 in the nation, pulled away for a 107-94 win.