One More Stop for Villanova

Villanova Goes to Big East Championship Winning A Squeaker Over Creighton

March 5, 2023 –

One more stop for the Villanova Wildcats. It is a dual meaning for Nova. One more stop on defense gave them the opportunity to play for the Big East Championship. The next stop along the journey. Forward Maddy Siegrist led the way with 37 points and 11 rebounds. After winning at the end in the quarterfinal against DePaul, this game came down to a last defensive stand in the 63 – 61 win over the #3 seed Creighton Bluejays. The championship game will be against UConn.

The Last Stand

Villanova took a 59 – 51 lead with just over 3 minutes remaining. Creighton fought back to pull within 61- 59 with a minute and a half to go. Then it got interesting.

The Bluejays took possession with just under a minute to play. On that possession Nova forward Christina Dalce got a steal as Lucy Olsen created the situation with her defense. Siegrist made two free throws to increase the lead. With 11.2 ticks Creighton got their opportunity as Dalce was called for an intentional foul sending Creighton guard Lauren Jensen to the line, she made both, then got possession of the ball. As a team Villanova came out with a purpose on defense.

“Just one stop,” said Siegrist about the team coming out with a sense of purpose for the defensive stand. “That’s how we practice all the time, you got to get one stop. We weren’t going to bail them out. We knew what we were doing on screens, everyone had to get a rebound. I think we did a good job with that.”

Jensen drove to the basket. Bella Runyan defended. Jensen missed. Siegrist got the rebound. The Cats ran out the clock.

Second Half Defense

Creighton lead 34 – 32 at halftime, and did so by shooting 58.3% (14 of 24) and 4 of 8 three-pointers. Forward Emma Ronsiek was scoring inside getting 11 of her 15 points. From outside Molly Mogensen got 10 of her 12 points in those twenty minutes.

Villanova had to get better on the ball defense, and did so as the game went on.

In the first half Creighton was shooting the lights out, getting looks they wanted,” said Villanova Coach Denise Dillon. “We were stepping off a little bit. We talked about that at halftime and just happened to turn it up on the defensive end. This group understands that in order for us to have success and get the results they may want, it’s got to be on the defensive end. Everyone did turn it up a notch.”

In the latter twenty minutes Creighton made 9 pf 26 from the floor (35%) and 2 of 8 from distance.

What the Numbers Say

Siegrist was one point shy of the all-time Villanova record for most points scored in a Big East tournament game set by Helen Koskinen (1989) and Nancy Bernhardt (1983). Siegrist shot 14 of 21, 1 of 2 from distance, and made 8 of 9 free throws. She added 4 offensive rebounds and 4 assists.

Dalce took down 10 rebounds.

Jensen scored a team-high 22 points for the Bluejays on 6 of 13 shooting, made half of her 6 three-pointers, and was perfect on seven free throws. Ronsiek assisted 5 times for a team-high.

How close were the numbers? Creighton made 23 of 50 field goal attempts, Villanova 24 of 51. Each team drained 6 three-pointers, and 9 free throws.

“They just have Maddy,” said Creighton Coach Jim Flanery. “Not to discredit their other players, but sometimes that’s enough. That was the difference today.”

The Will to Win

“I think we knew coming into this tournament every game was going to be a battle,” Siegrist said. “We practice late game situations all the time, just trying to stay calm and execute down the stretch. We’ve been able to do that these past two games.”


Written By: Glenn Papazian


Maddy Siegrist Who Scored 37 Points

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