Maddy Siegrist entered Friday’s game behind head coach Denise Dillon by 15 points on Villanova’s all-time women’s basketball scoring list. For many people that equates to scoring a full game, but for Siegrist it only took 16 minutes.
Before passing Dillon’s total of 1,355 points, Siegrist first had to pass 2016 graduate Caroline Coyer, which she did with her first field goal of the game. Then, with 4:10 left in the first half, sophomore forward Lior Garzon screened down for Siegrist to break away for a wide-open triple, giving him 15 points in the game and the 12th. place on the all-time score. listing.
The junior forward then scored 10 more points, leading the Wildcats to a 71-56 win over Providence.
“I’ll be thrilled to have her surpass me,” Dillon said of the feat. “I hope more of these players get past me. It’s fantastic, she’s advancing straight away.
Neither Dillon nor Siegrist knew about the milestone before the match, but the two showed enthusiasm and shared a moment after the match as Dillon congratulated her.
“They’re two great players,” Siegrist said of Coyer and Dillon. “It’s an honor.”
Friday’s game marks only the third game in the Big East in which the Wildcats have had all five starters healthy and available. Missing Siegrist for the first two conference games, then playing without graduate forward Brianna Herlihy last weekend due to COVID-19, Dillon and the team are relieved to be reunited with the group.
Prior to missing two games, Herlihy had recorded four straight double-doubles in four Wildcat wins. She didn’t skip a beat on her comeback, recording a near-double with nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
“Tuesday was fun,” Dillon said of Herlihy joining the squad for practice earlier in the week. “You could just see the team was excited [to be back together] when we hadn’t really been since before Christmas. She is the ‘team mom’, takes everyone under her wing and her energy is contagious.
The Wildcats found a multi-player offensive spark in the win, with Garzon adding nine points, four rebounds and three assists while freshmen Lucy Olsen and Kaitlyn Orihel added seven and eight points, respectively. Olsen has been a key part of the Cats’ offense the past five games, registering 17 assists with just three turnovers in that streak.
Villanova was primed for the Brothers’ entry into this game after losing 20 points on the road in early December. He knew Providence would present daunting challenges, but for a team with a height disadvantage in almost every position, Villanova dominated the boards, outscoring the Friars 41-36 and recording 32 points in the paint.
“It was our revenge tour,” Siegrist said. “We lost to those guys by 20 up there so we knew going in that we had to bring it tonight. They’re a good team, very big, so we knew we had to bring them in from the start.
The ‘Cats did just that, taking a 7-0 lead in the first quarter while holding the Friars 5-15 shots, 0-2 from behind the arc, in the quarter. Villanova was firing on all cylinders, wearing down the Friars in the first quarter before stepping on the gas in the second, taking a 15-point lead three minutes into the period, an advantage they would hold until the final buzzer. .
The second half was the same story, with the ‘Cats extending their lead to 20 in the first minute behind a layup from Olsen followed by a three from Orihel. Villanova led by no less than 24, shooting 47% from the field in the third to hold a 59-38 lead early in the final quarter.
The Friars, led by first-year guard Kylee Sheppard with 11 points, tried to close the gap, cutting the lead to 13 in the fourth quarter, but with just over two minutes to play, there was no not enough time to make up the shortfall.
With the win, Villanova moves to 10-6 overall, 4-3 in conference. The ‘Cats host Creighton on Sunday as they try to avenge another tough loss in early December.
“You have to have a bigger plan, a vision for your season and what you want,” Dillon said. “We have to catch up with some of those games that we haven’t won and [we have] an opportunity on Sunday to see where we really are in the league.