| MESSAGE BOARD
REGION: West SEED: 7
COACH: Harry Perretta CONFERENCE: Big East
Road to the Final Four ...................................................................................
|PLAYER TO WATCH|
Mix doesn't look like a classic point guard. At 5 feet 10, she's versatile enough to play the 2-guard or forward, but in the patient offense the Wildcats run, she is often most valuable running the point. She leads the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio at 5.4-to-1, as well as leads the team in rebounding, steals and assists. Oh yeah, she's also second on the team in scoring and blocks. Weird that scoring is an afterthought, but it's impossible to ignore Mix.
ANALYSIS BY ESPN'S STACEY DALES-SCHUMAN
After coach Harry Perretta shared his notorious motion offense with Tennessee coach Pat Summitt last season, people finally took notice of a program that has been breaking ground for years. Not the most athletic squad to grace the game, Villanova possesses smart players who can flat out run the system and shoot the ball. The interesting misconception, however is that 'Nova prefers only to execute the half-court game. If the opportunity presents itself, the Wildcats will challenge in the open court, especially this season.
Senior Courtney Mix is regarded as one of the most versatile players in the entire country, and for good reason. Mix averages eight points, seven boards and nearly five assists. More striking, however, is her overall assist-to-turnover ratio of 5.4-to-1 -- a mark few players can only dream of coming close to matching! Needless to say, that this is one of the prime reasons Villanova ranks first in the country with just nine turnovers per outing.
With pure scorers such sophomore forward Liad Suez, who sat out the 2002-03 season due to NCAA regulations, Villanova has more scoring prowess than ever. Suez is notching 15 points a game. Suez, who's 6 feet 2, and the 5-10 Mix are especially effective because of their size. They can scorch mismatches down low or take bigger players off the dribble from the perimeter.
Despite all the attention that last year's squad garnered, this year's team is deeper, more athletic (by Villanova standards) and more offensively adept, as the Wildcats shoot an improved 43 percent from the field. Additionally, they play solid defense, holding rivals to just 52 points per contest.
How do they do it? Look no further than the Villanova M.O. that basically looks to create an environment that forces challengers to second-guess their abilities and strengths during the course of a game. To be frank, Perretta & Co. like to mess with one's psyche and it clearly works. And that makes Villanova one dangerous team.