We’ve finally reach a point in the season where the five City Six schools playing basketball this season (Penn is not) have has played at least 10 games. The gap ranges from La Salle’s 19 to St. Joseph’s 10.
It’s the middle of February, which means the heat of conference play. Critical games are taking place to determine seeding within conferences. Drexel is fighting for a top spot, while schools like Temple, La Salle, St. Joseph’s and Villanova want to end up in good positions.
Here is the latest edition of the City Six Women’s notebook.
La Salle and St. Joes learning from struggles against top of A-10
La Salle and St. Joseph’s both got off to strong starts but have had recent hiccups in Atlantic-10 play.
The Explorers (9-10, 5-7 A-10) have lost two straight after one of their best starts in recent years. On Hawk Hill, St. Joe’s has lost its last four.
The Explorers’ two losses are to teams with a combined 14-3 record in A-10 play. They’ll play Davidson at 2 p.m. on Friday. The Wildcats have lost six straight games, but head coach Mountain MacGillivray is aware of the challenge.
“We’re going to have our opportunities for sure,” MacGillivray said. “It’s about how well we execute for ourselves. We got to make sure we don’t let them get hot against us.”
A tough schedule is part of the reason for the Hawks’ struggles, too. Their last four losses are to teams with a combined 25-6 record in A-10 play. Those defeats include a two-point overtime loss and a 63-60 defeat last Sunday against St. Louis.
St. Joe’s (5-5, 3-5 A-10) plays Fordham at noon on Friday, then at Davidson on Sunday.
“I think we’ve learned that we have to pay attention to a little more detail down the stretch,” Hawks head coach Cindy Griffin said. “Just understanding how to win games and doing the little things from a discipline standpoint to make sure that we’re putting ourselves in position to win.”
Everything virtual for Villanova during pause
Villanova is in a COVID pause that’s expected to end Sunday before a Tuesday game against Butler.
Players’ and coaches’ communication has only been virtual. Players are doing virtual workouts to say in shape.
How committed players are to virtual workouts will have a role in playing time Tuesday. The Wildcats (11-3, 6-3 Big East) have developed more depth than in recent seasons and have nine players averaging 13.5 or more minutes.
“The biggest thing is evaluating where they stand conditioning-wise in those couple days prior to Butler,” Wildcats head coach Denise Dillon said. “I think it helps us that we’ve able to go a little bit deeper and gotten everyone healthy.”
Practice Sunday and Monday is the only time the Wildcats will get before Tuesday’s game. Butler (1-13, 1-12 Big East) is not having a good season, so if there’s a team in the Big East that the Wildcats would prefer playing after a pause, it’s probably this one. Villanova won the first meeting, 90-53.
Drexel-Delaware could be a CAA tournament preview
Drexel had its second three-game winning streak in conference play after beating Elon and sweeping Northeastern. Games against Hofstra on Feb. 5-6 were postponed.
Now, the Dragons (9-4, 6-2 CAA) are playing Delaware on Friday (away) and Sunday (home). The Blue Hens are the No. 1 team in the CAA standings and the Dragons are third.
These meetings should be a battle and could be a preview of the CAA tournament. Delaware is the No. 2 offense in the CAA and Drexel is the top defense. The Blue Hens (14-2, 11-1 CAA) beat opponents by 13 points per game. Drexel has only lost one game by more than three.
Temple’s AAC outlook
Houston has gotten the best of Temple this season. The Owls are 7-3 against the rest of the American Athletic Conference. They are 0-2 with two losses by a combined 71 points against the Cougars.
Next up for Temple (7-8, 7-5 AAC) is a a game against East Carolina. Temple is fifth in the AAC standings and ECU (6-10, 4-7) is one spot behind.
The Owls are firmly locked in the fifth spot of the AAC, especially after two losses to the fourth-seeded Cougars.