The Wildcats Move On for the Second Consecutive Season Defeating St. John’s 76 – 52
UNCASVILLE, Ct. 3/5/2022 –
The Villanova Wildcats will play in the semifinal round of the Big East Tournament. The Wildcats ousted the Red Storm of St. John’s in the quarterfinal round of the tournament 76 – 52 lifted by the play for forward Brianna Herlihy who took down a career-high 17 rebounds. The number ties the most rebounds in a Big East Tournament set by Maddie Siegrist who did so as a freshman.
Herlihy also scored 16 points for her 6th double-double of the season, and her 12th game with 10 or more rebounds. Villanova won the battle of the boards 41 – 31. Herlihy’s effort off the boards impacted the game.
“That was my main goal for today was just keeping No. 20 off the board (Rayven Peeples),” said Herlihy. “She’s a huge rebounder. We watched her game yesterday. She did a lot of offensive rebounding and putbacks. I knew my main priority today was to keep her off the board. That resulted in me getting the rebounds.”
The Wildcats Got a Needed Good Start
Villanova established their offense early in the game with Lucy Olsen and Lior Garzon hitting the first three baskets for the team, all from beyond the arc. Olsen added another three-pointer on her way to scoring 13 points. The start alleviated worries of struggling early in a first tournament game.
“That was huge,” Siegrist said. “We knew everyone was going to have to step up. St. John’s is a smart team. They had a good game plan. With Lucy and Li (Lior) hitting those shots right off the bat then they have to guard them. And that makes them a threat offensively. It gives those kids confidence, too.”
Siegrist totaled a game-high 24 points making 10 of 19 from the floor while adding 8 boards. She has scored 20 or more points in 18 games this season.
Nova took control of the contest via an 8 – 0 run late in the second quarter for a 44 – 26 lead. In the third quarter St. John’s did not score for nearly four minutes to start the stanza.
Sharing the Ball in a Balanced Offense
The Wildcats shared the ball getting 17 assists on 27 field goals. The team showed a balance of inside and outside offense. Of their 63 shots, 37 came from inside the arc and 26 outside the arc.
“Since I got here last year we wanted to emphasize that, said Villanova Coach Denise Dillon. “The ball getting the touches in the paint first and higher percentage shots. So getting Maddy on cuts, Brianna — they moved so well without the basketball. So getting looks around the basket, whether it’s post, and then the kickout. I think it’s a more natural look. You saw it with some of the 3s today.”
“When we’re in the flow, getting those touches inside/out is when it’s a higher percentage three for us.”
Garzon contributed 15 points.
Kadaja Bailey led the Red Storm with 19 points while Leilani Correa added 15 points and 6 rebounds.
Villanova gets the winner of the Seton Hall vs. Creighton game for a spot in the championship game.
Written By: Glenn Papazian