Somewhere inside the Palestra, Philadelphia's college basketball cathedral, there is a plaque with Lisa Gedaka's likeness - the token of her induction into the Big Five Hall of Fame after her playing career at Villanova.

Lisa's daughter, Mary, remembers seeing it in eighth grade on a visit to the University City arena with her middle-school team.

Some players shy away from their parents' footsteps. Mary Gedaka - who this past week made an oral commitment to her mother's alma mater - has a different take.

"Really," she said, "Villanova is just where I feel most comfortable."

Reminders of her mother's legacy have been a constant in Mary's basketball career.

Now a junior at Gloucester Catholic, Mary Gedaka plays for a team that her mother coaches. And attends the school where her mother posted one of the best high school playing careers in South Jersey history.

The weight and pitfalls of such an arrangement are obvious.

But Mary Gedaka has not just felt comfortable in her mother's footsteps, she has thrived in them. Now she has even chosen to continue along the path.

"Me and my mom have such a great relationship," Mary Gedaka said. "So I feel blessed just to have these opportunities."

Added her mother: "It's something that Mary has handled so well, and it's something we've worked at. Ultimately, as a mother, I'm just so proud of her. She's worked so hard for this."

Since Mary Gedaka became officially eligible to be recruited on Sept. 1, phone calls, e-mails, and texts from college suitors have been nonstop.

A 6-foot forward who averaged 18 points last year as a sophomore, Gedaka is quick, strong, and agile with a high basketball IQ. Villanova was far from her only option, and it wasn't as easy a choice as one might expect.

Other schools, particularly St. Joseph's, were high on her list.

"I think there was a perception that she was always going to go to Villanova, but that really wasn't true," said Lisa Gedaka, who still has close ties with the Wildcats program, particularly with Harry Perretta, the head coach for the last 37 seasons, including during Lisa's career there from 1984 to '88. "From the beginning, it was Mary's decision. We wanted to guide her and make sure she was looking at every school and making good decisions, but this was her choice."

To hear Mary Gedaka describe it, Villanova just happens to be the college her mother played for.

She wanted to find a school close to home, a school where she felt comfortable - and she didn't want the recruiting process to linger and become a distraction to her high school career.

"Villanova had everything I was looking for," Mary Gedaka said. "I went there overnight and the players were really welcoming and made me feel really comfortable. And [Perretta] is not only a great coach but a great person. Once I narrowed it down, it was just clear that I wanted to be a part of that program."

In reality the pressure of her mother's legacy will likely be far less intense in college than it is in high school.

"High school is so much more of a tight-knit group. Everybody knows everybody, especially at Gloucester Catholic," said Lisa Gedaka, who played at Villanova under her maiden name, Angelotti. "If we can thrive in high school with me having played there, me being her mom, me coaching, then Villanova is going to be a cinch. My career was so many years ago, we even have different last names."

If that's true, Mary Gedaka could be well on her way to joining her mother on the walls of the Palestra.

It's a prospect she said would be nice, but it's not something she's focused on. She's much more concerned with the task at hand: winning a state championship as a leader on South Jersey's top team.

"I'm worry-free and able to completely focus on my time on Gloucester Catholic," Mary Gedaka said. "And we have so many goals we want to accomplish this year, right now, that's what's most important."