The Wildcats are once again on top of the college basketball world. The Villanova University’s Wildcats earned the title as national champions in the March Madness NCAA championship on April 2 for the second time in three years.
Ending the first half 37-28 Villanova, the Michigan Wolverines were close behind, staying strong. Fans were all ready and set to watch the Wildcats earn the title again, including Cabrini University‘s women basketball forward Nomi Washington.
“Michigan definitely gave Villanova a run for their money in the first half of the game,” Washington said. “They hustled, worked hard and made Nova get the difficult shots. By halftime, I thought it’d be a close game to the end, but Nova ended up pulling away.”
Crowds started gathering in nearby bars and on Villanova’s campus. Many made the trip to San Antonio to watch the game live.
ABC News announced during its noon update that Lancaster Avenue would be closed.
Current students, locals and alumni were watching closely while the Wildcats won 74-62.
Washington had the Wildcats winning from the start, seeing the potential.
“They are such a dangerous team because they have so many weapons on the court at all times,” Washington said. “If one person isn’t scoring, another is. They hustle on both ends of the court. It wasn’t just their offense that won them the game but their defense too. It’s scary; they never back down.”
After the Wildcats won 95-79 against Kanas University, Jay Wright told the Big East Conference on March 28 that the game was unbelievable, pulling through and showing leadership while having excitement for the final game.
Keith Blassingale, guard on Cabrini University’s men’s basketball team, saw the leadership even before the game.
“You can just tell that those guys have a bond on and off the court, and that’s why they trust each other and play so well off each other,” Blassingale said.
Blassingale, like Washington, knew the Wildcats would retain their title.
“I believed Nova would pull through because they had too much offensive power than Michigan,” Blassingale said. “Once they got the lead, I knew the game was over. I liked how they knew who the hot hand was in Donte DiVincenzo and rode him to a victory.”
On Lancaster Avenue, fireworks were set off and the celebrations began. Music was played and people from all over were united over the win. Police officers were ready with many stationed, making sure people stayed safe.
Christian Ridenhour, a senior studying marketing and minoring in sports management at Cabrini, made it to Villanova’s campus from Cabrini to celebrate with his friends.
“It’s an experience,” Ridenhour said. “You can feel the emotion and passion of the fans. Everyone was having the time of their lives. If anyone got out there, it was a lot of fun.”
Going to the celebration made everyone feel indeed united.
“I felt like I was part of the Villanova family,” Ridenhour said. “They were accepting when they celebrated. People just were having a great time. There was no way that I was going to miss this time around, especially on my last time around.”
“Just wow,” Blassingale said. “For the most part, the Wildcats dominated the whole game from the middle of the first half until the final buzzer.”
The Wildcats going out together as a team reminded Washington of the women’s basketball at Cabrini.
“They have a team full of selfless players that together shared the same dream, and they did what they needed to be done,” Washington said. “Not one person [on] the team was above another. You can see their chemistry and their commitment to one another every second of the game. They definitely reminded me of my team.”