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Villanova basketball player Jannah Tucker, New Town alum, gets extra semester of NCAA eligibility

Villanova's Jannah Tucker, front, passes the ball during a second-round game in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament Sunday, March 18, in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame won, 98-72.
Villanova's Jannah Tucker, front, passes the ball during a second-round game in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament Sunday, March 18, in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame won, 98-72. (Robert Franklin / AP)

PHILADELPHIA —

The NCAA informed Villanova on Monday that Wildcats women’s basketball player Jannah Tucker (New Town) will be granted an extra semester of eligibility that will allow her to play the complete 2018-19 season.

Tucker's five-year NCAA clock was supposed to run out after next season's fall semester, but the school argued that extraordinary circumstances — a domestic abuse situation involving Tucker's boyfriend that amounted to a hostage situation — kept her from playing as a freshman.

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In an interview, Tucker had described how her boyfriend had kept her from reporting to the University of Tennessee for weeks. Tucker ultimately transferred to Villanova and played the last two seasons.

“I was very surprised to find out this quickly,” Tucker said in an interview Monday in Villanova's women's basketball office. ”I think we just submitted it a couple of weeks ago. I've never heard of a waiver getting appealed that quickly. I was very grateful. I know a lot of people were in my corner for it and a lot of people pushed for it.”

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New Town's Jannah Tucker, right, watches the ball with Franklin's Maria Izzard in January 2012.
New Town's Jannah Tucker, right, watches the ball with Franklin's Maria Izzard in January 2012. (Gene Sweeney Jr. / Baltimore Sun)

Asked her level of excitement of having a full season still to play, she said, ”12 out of 10.“

Villanova had made it to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2013, beating South Dakota State before losing to top-seeded Notre Dame. Tucker, a guard-forward, had finished the season strongly, making six 3-pointers for 20 points against South Dakota State, adding 19 points against Notre Dame.

”It's a great thing for my team, too,” Tucker said. “It's always hard when you don't know. And if I did play half, it would be extremely hard to say, ‘All right guys, see ya.’ Now it's a whole different team dynamic. Taking one person out really affects the entire team. Now we can all kind of settle, and get really excited again.”

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