December 9, 2020 –
The Villanova Wildcats women’s basketball team remains unbeaten and the winning streak reaches five games with a 78 – 52 win over the La Salle Explorers at the Finneran Pavilion. It was the 12th straight win for the Wildcats in this series. Coach Denise Dillon credits the players for the streak.
“The awareness of who we had returning helped in knowing Maddy (Siegrist), her level and her ability that we had someone to rely on every day,” said Dillon. “I am pleased with the group and the mentality of Brianna Herlihy. They are a good combo. Overall, their commitment to each other is so impressive and their willingness to do what ever it takes for the team.”
The game was close early with Nova taking a 30 – 24 lead into halftime. The contest would turn clearly in the direction of Villanova in the third quarter won by Nova 29 – 14. In that pivotal ten minutes the Cats made 9 of 14 from the field (64.3%) while La Salle was limited to 4 of 16. The highlight for Nova was a 16 – 2 run over four and a half minutes that provided the separation. Forward Maddy Siegrist scored 14 of her game-high 31 points in the quarter. But it was the defense that played a large role during that time and in the win.
“We turned it up defensively and did a better understanding what we were going to take away,” Dillon said.
Siegrist recorded another doubled-double pulling down 13 rebounds. The sophomore forward converted 11 of 19 field goal attempts and sank all 8 free throws, while adding 5 assists. Senior forward Brianna Herlihy recorded a career-high 24 points to go along with 9 rebounds. She has been a contributor to the success of this team.
“Her grit and her experience could help us with some of the top post players we’d be facing,” Dillon said. “She is showing that same pace on the offensive end. Brianna Herlihy is setting the pace for our transition game. It makes for exciting basketball. She does a nice job of sharing the ball.”
Sophomore guard Kenzie Gardler also set a career-mark with 11 points, 3 baskets came from beyond the arc, another collegiate-best.
La Salle got 16 points from Claire Jacobs who was 5 of 14 from the field and 5 of 6 free throws. She grabbed 7 boards, a team-high. Molly Masciantonio broke double-digits with 10 points. The Explorers were hampered as Kayla Spruill fouled out and did not score.
Villanova goes for their sixth straight as Dillon meets her former team, the Drexel Dragons, and long-time assistant Amy Mallon on Sunday at the Finneran Pavilion.
“I’m fortunate to be with a great group here, and knowing Drexel is in great hands with Amy,” said Dillon. “I am not looking forward to this game. Our team, I am going to prepare them for the next few days of what we are to face, and allow them to do their thing. It’s their game. It’s about them. Once the game finishes up, go back to supporting those Dragons and wishing them a great season.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian