Villanova Claims Women’s Big Five Title

Wildcats Sweep the City Series

VILLANOVA, PA 12/21/2022 –

Villanova completes the Big Five portion of their schedule with an 81 – 55 win over the La Salle Explorers at the Finneran Pavilion. Nova goes 4 – 0 in city play and wins the crown outright. The Wildcats have done so for the nineteenth time.

“There is a lot of competition in the Big Five and for us to come out on top is really exciting,” said Villanova guard and Royersford native Lucy Olsen. “It’s great.”

The Wildcats got off to a good start taking a 20 – 11 lead after one quarter, then stretched that to a 16-point halftime advantage. For the half Villanova made half of their shots from inside and outside of the arc (15 of 30 and 4 of 8). La Salle was limited to making a third of their field goal attempts. Getting off fast was the key for the Cats especially in limiting the other team.

“When shots fall it makes things easier and you’re more comfortable on the floor,” said Villanova Coach Denise Dillon. “We’re trying to get our group understand the work on the defensive end, staying locked in, and what the strategy and the plan is on that end. Because you’re going to have some nights when you’re not shooting that well.”

For the game Villanova made 30 of 56 (51.7%) and kept the shooting from beyond the arc level at 8 of 16.

Maddy Siegrist led the way for Villanova with 31 points and 11 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season. Olsen scored 19 points. It is the 5th consecutive game where she has posted double figures. Olsen assisted 8 times, one shy of a career-best. Forward Kaitlyn Orihel set a collegiate-best with 18 points and 4 made three-pointers.

The Explorers maintained shooting at a 32.8% clip for both two-point and three-point attempts. Kayla Spruill scored a team-high 14 points while Gabby Crawford contributed 13 points. She had a team-best 5 rebounds.

“It’s been the same for us, you shoot thirty-two percent, you’re not going to win a lot of basketball games,” said La Salle Coach Mountain MacGillivray. “We have to get better and find a way to put the ball in the basket.”

The Explorers are 0 – 3 in the city series with one more to play. That game will be against Saint Joseph’s on on New Year’s Eve at the Gola Arena. La Salle has one more non-conference game with Hartford before Atlantic 10 play fills their schedule.

“We’ve got three practices before we play the Hawks which we are excited for, they’re off to a great start.” MacGillivray said. “It will be a great matchup.”

The game also marked the end of the non-conference schedule for the Cats this season. They will continue Big East play next week at Marquette. The team feels up to the challenge.

“We’ve had a lot of great non-conference games,” Olsen said. “The Big East is going to be great this year. Every game is going to be a tough one. I think we’ve prepared well so far.”


Written By: Glenn Papazian


Lucy Olsen – Photo Courtesy of Villanova Media Relations


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