Wildcats Overcome the Pirates 76 – 73
December 31, 2021 –
It is usually a wild game when the Villanova Wildcats and the Seton Hall Pirates play, and this was no exception. The Pirates led by one with just over four minutes to play. Then, Nova closed it out behind baskets by Maddy Siegrist, Brianna Herlihy, and Lior Garzon to post a 76 – 73 win at the Finneran Pavilion. This is the initial conference win for the Wildcats, and was a good way to enter the new year.
“It feels great, I’m glad we got it,” said Siegrist about the initial conference victory. “Seton Hall is a great team. They beat a lot of good teams.”
Seton Hall stayed ahead most of the way. Villanova did not get the needed stops, yet remained in proximity. The Pirates led 57 – 50 going into the fourth quarter, but Nova would outscore the Hall 26 – 16 in the last ten minutes.
Villanova took the lead at 64 – 63 on a Siegrist layup at the 5:25 mark. Seton Hall got it right back on a basket by Sidney Cooks, but it would be their final advantage of the game. Herlihy put Villanova ahead for good answering with a three-pointer as a little over three minutes showed on the clock. Garzon connected from deep with 1:43 to play, then Siegrist would put the game away with back-to-back buckets. The first off an offensive rebound put back then a layup. Both were needed as the Pirates continued to stay within a possession. Andra Espinoza-Hunter put up a desperation three-pointer at the horn which was well off the mark.
“Credit our defense,” Siegrist said about the latter part of the game. “We got the stops when we needed to. There was a point where we were trading baskets with them earlier in the fourth quarter. We were down five, so we weren’t going to win the game like that. Coach pointed out for every basket we get, we’ve got to get two stops, and we all kept that mentality which really helped us.”
Siegrist scored a game-high 23 points, her 35th career twenty-point game and fourth this season. Siegrist made 10 of 19 from the floor and added 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Herlihy recorded her third consecutive double-double getting 17 points and 12 rebounds. She handed out a team-high 5 assists. Garzon added 14 points, her ninth double-digit scoring game. Those three players scored all but one of the Villanova fourth quarter points. They are also the top three scorers on the team.
“Get the ball into the hands of players that are confident as they’re not going to get rattled,” Dillon said.
Four Villanova players dished out 4 or more assists. Lucy Olsen and Brooke Mullin had 4 each. Mullin leads the team with 37 assists this season.
“That’s a key to continuity offense,” said Dillon. “You’re looking to distribute the ball, keep it moving, get your teammates open shots when they collapse. I think we did a nice job of that and willing to make the extra pass.”
Five players scored in double digits for Seton Hall led by Espinoza-Hunter with 20 points. Cooks posted a double-double, her second consecutive, scoring 15 points and taking down 12 rebounds. Lauren Park-Lane scored 12 points and handed out 10 assists, one shy of her season-best. Mya Jackson had a season-high tying 16 points. Curtessia Dean would add 10 points.
Villanova is on a four-game winning streak. The Wildcats host St. John’s on Sunday.
“We knew we were coming into a tough weekend with Seton Hall and St. John’s to follow,” Dillon said. “I’m glad we chipped away, cut their lead and found a way to move on and get the couple of stops in a row we needed.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian