Villanova Defeats Seton Hall 64 – 55 and Will Play for the Conference Title Against UConn
UNCASVILLE, CT – 3/6/2022 –
The Villanova Wildcats survived a charge by the Seton Hall Pirates. It has been said that the idea in college basketball in the month of March is to ‘survive and move on.’ The Wildcats are moving on to the Big East Tournament title game facing the Connecticut Huskies. The last time these teams met Villanova ended the 169-game winning streak for UConn. Now, they will try to make it 2 in a row over the Huskies.
But to get there the team needed to survive a Pirates run getting to within 55 – 51 with just under four minutes on the clock. Nova knew The Hall would make a charge, but also knew how to survive it.
“Just watching them play, they would go on runs,” Siegrist said. “They’re very talented offensively, and they can score very quickly. We knew, all right, that was their run. And we kept calm the whole time. And I think that really helped us, especially with a few of the turnovers. We were able to come back from that.”
Surviving the Run
In the fourth quarter Villanova held a 51 – 38 lead after a 10 – 6 run spurred by Siegrist who had 7 consecutive points in that spurt. That negated Seton Hall scoring seven consecutive points just before. Then, things changed as Nova went cold from the floor and began to turn the ball over. With just under four minutes left Siegrist made a basket for a 6-point lead. Pirates forward Sidney Crooks answered.
Then it came down to defense. The Hall would not score again until just seconds remained. They missed 6 consecutive shots.
Lior Garzon Made the Critical Shots
During that span Nova took control when guard Lior Garzon scored five-straight points on back-to-back buckets. The dagger being a three-pointer at the one minute mark to stretch the lead to 60 – 51. Siegrist assisted on the first bucket. In endgame situations the experienced team leaders need to step up. They did in the form of Siegrist and Garzon.
“It was tough down the stretch, that fourth quarter, said Villanova Coach Denise Dillon. “We were getting the ball in Maddy’s hands, which everybody is aware that you’re going to. And I have to tell you, and it was probably her biggest assist she made kicking that ball back to Lior and Lior knocking that shot down. And then she (Garzon) gets that big 3 and you can see the fire. So it just showed Maddy didn’t just try to make a play knowing it was down the stretch. She relied on her teammates once again. And a huge assist and great shot for Lior just for us to feel a little bit more of a cushion at that point.”
Siegrist scored a team-high 24 points and added a game-high 14 rebounds. She has scored twenty or more points in 19 games this season and in the last eight games, and recorded a double-double 12 times. Brianna Herlihy scored 17 points and came down with 8 caroms. Garzon added 13 points. Lucy Olsen contributed 10 points and made 5 of 6 from the free throw line, one shy of her career-high for made foul shots in a game. She also dished out a game-high 4 assists.
Nova outrebounded the Hall by a 39 – 29 margin.
Lauren Park-Lane led Seton Hall with 24 points as she made half of her 14 shots and converted 9 of 10 from the charity stripe. Crooks contributed 19 points while Andra Espinoza-Hunter got 12 points.
More Games to Play?
Villanova advances to the title game for the fifth time. The last time in 2003 when they defeated UConn 52 – 48. The Wildcats won 19 of their last 21 games. Selection Monday looms after that.
Seton Hall came out winners in 11 of their last 13 games, but do not show up in NCAA Tournament projections. In the post-game press conference coach Tony Bozzella emotionally and emphatically express his displeasure feeling the team is enduring a lack of respect.
Written By: Glenn Papazian