Villanova Advances to the Sweet Sixteen

Records Re-Written in a 76 – 57 Win Over Florida Gulf Coast University in the Second Round

VILLANOVA, PA. 3/20/2023

The Villanova Wildcats move on to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament for the second time in program history defeating the #12 Florida Gulf Coast Eagles 76 – 57 at the Finneran Pavilion. Along the way some new records were established for the #4 Wildcats. But what matters most to this team is to keep advancing and get the opportunity to play for more.

“There is such a strong tradition of basketball at Villanova,” said Siegrist. “We have a such a strong alumni base, Coach included. People come to the game and we hear stories about when they played, like the ’03 team that went to the Elite Eight. They talk about that and just to be able to carry that tradition the best you can, it’s something I will always cherish.”

Siegrist Sets Another NCAA Record

Siegrist finished the game with 31 points. Her two free throws at the 5:18 mark of the third quarter totaled point number 21. Siegrist established an NCAA Record by scoring 20 points or more in 36 consecutive games passing the twenty-point mark in each game this season. She finished with a game-high 31 points making 13 of 24 from the floor and was a perfect 5 of 5 from the free throw line. Siegrist stole the ball 4 times, one shy of her career-best. This is her 15th thirty-point game of the season. And left an impression on FGCU Coach Karl Smesko.

“She was fantastic tonight,” said Smesko. “To game plan for her in one day is extraordinarily difficult. She made tough shots and we were going to live with her making tough shots. I haven’t seen many players hot as many tough shots as she is able to to hit.”

A Record Day for Lucy Olsen

An emerging star for the Cats is sophomore guard Lucy Olsen. She set a career-high in scoring getting 23 points. Olsen also added 10 rebounds, one shy of her collegiate-best, and handed out 7 assists. Very close to a triple-double. Olsen credits taking and making open shots for her performance.

“I think I just took advantage of the opportunities that were given instead of passing them up,” Olsen said.

It was her second double-double this season.

Fast Start At the Start of Each Half

Villanova came out quickly and established themselves on both sides of the floor. The Wildcats scored 14 of the first 16 points as four different players added points in that first 5 minutes. On defense Nova blocked the first two FGCU shots and held them to under 10 points with just under two and a half minutes remained.

“One of the things we talked about was defensively setting the tone early,” Siegrist said. “Everybody was doing that. When that happens, the offense gets a little bit easier.”

The Eagles showed fight and got to within 36 – 33 at halftime.

The Wildcats put the game away going on a 15 – 2 run over six and a half minutes to put the game away. Again, good offense – defense balance allowed Villanova to go ahead. Dillon also credited the return of forward Christina Dalce from foul trouble as a major reason.

“It’s a combination of both,” said Villanova Coach Denise Dillon. “We came out ready and did what we do best, execution, getting stops, and rebounding the basketball. The reality is Christina (Dalce) gets in foul trouble. That changes our setting because the mentality is inside out on offense. We start the third quarter she is back in there, everyone doing what their role and responsibility on the floor. Chris was a game changer in that aspect. When you’re playing a smaller team we can switch one through five.”

What the Numbers Say

The Wildcats have a 30 – 6 record. This team has set the mark for most wins in a season.

Sha Carter led the Eagles with 11 points while Alyza Winston added 10 points. FGCU made 21 of 59 field goal attempts (35.6%).

Villanova won the rebounding battle 42 – 30. The Wildcats shot 32 of 67 (47.8%).

Career-Win Number 400 for Dillon

This victory is number 400 for Dillon. She was 329 – 211 in 17 years at Drexel, and is now 71 – 22 at Villanova

“I’ll certainly remember it,” Dillon said. “As a coach you remember some of the great wins and unfortunately all of the losses. But this is one I’ll certainly hold on to.”

She gets an opportunity for number 401 on Friday in Greenville as Villanova takes on #9 Miami who defeated top-seeded Indiana to advance.


Written By: Glenn Papazian


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