/February 27, 2021 –
The two opponents had similar records, were close in the Big East standings, and saw this game as a chance to enhance their NCAA Tournament profile. Villanova was fourth and Seton Hall was fifth. Those positions are flipped as the Seton Hall Pirates delivered a 67 – 55 setback to the Villanova Wildcats on Senior Night. Forward Maddy Siegrist scored 27 points in a night where she reached the 1,000 point plateau, and did so in the fewest games in Wildcats history.
Siegrist got her record breaking points less than a minute into the game by sinking two free throws. She is the third player in Villanova history to score 1,000 points in just two seasons, and took 50 games into her career. Siegrist added 10 rebounds to post her 11th double-double of the season, and topped the 20-point mark in 13 games.
“Maddy accomplishes such an incredible milestone,” Villanova Coach Denise Dillon said. “It’s so impressive and you saw why she accomplished it so early in her career. She’s relentless, she continues to work at every level to help her team succeed, and put her name in the history books.”
But it wasn’t enough to offset the Wildcats turnovers and the Pirates offensive balance.
The game began with both teams playing scrappy. In the second quarter Villanova began to commit turnovers, eight in those ten minutes and half of those happened in the last three plus minutes.
In the third quarter the turnover trend continued and allowed a 9 – 0 Seton Hall run to give them separation taking a 40 – 31 lead with just over six minutes to play in the stanza.
“Give them credit for knocking us off our mark,” said Dillon about the miscues. “They pressured the basketball a great bit, and not only were they pressuring the basketball, they were playing the passing lanes. They dared us to put the ball on the floor, and that’s not something we want to do. It fueled their fire.”
Then the Wildcats turned cold from the floor as the shooting percentage diminished in each ten minute segment. Only Siegrist was making shots consistently.
“I didn’t feel that offensively we got into any rhythm,” Dillon said. “It went back to us just looking for Maddy to bail us out every possession. We did hold them below their average, which was great. But it was tough for us to play both ends of the floor for forty minutes.”
Meanwhile the Pirates found their offensive flow and did not permit the Wildcats to make a run. Three Seton Hall players scored in double figures with Desiree Elmore leading the way with 21 points and 16 rebounds. Lauren Park-Lane scored 20 points and Andra Espinoza-Hunter got 16. Other than Siegrist only Sarah Mortensen broke double digits for Nova getting 11 points.
Villanova concludes the regular season. The Big East Tournament looms next. There is a good chance they will face Seton Hall again in the quarterfinal round. That has yet to be determined. The Cats can turn their focus to post-season play, and a chance to put this game in the memory bank.
“A little reminder is a good thing and there won’t be any let up,” said Dillon.
Written By: Glenn Papazian