Siegrist Passes Dillon, ‘Cats Pass Friars, 71-56


Courtesy of Olivia Pasquale/Villanovan Photography

Junior forward Maddy Siegrist is now twelfth all time in program history in scoring, passing her head coach.

Meghann Morhardt, Co-Sports Editor

Maddy Siegrist entered Friday’s game trailing head coach Denise Dillon by 15 points on the Villanova women’s basketball all time scoring list. For many people this is a full game’s worth of scoring, but for Siegrist, it took just 16 minutes. 

Before surpassing Dillon’s total of 1,355 points, Siegrist first had to pass 2016 graduate Caroline Coyer, which she did with her first basket of the game. Then, with 4:10 left to play in the first half, sophomore forward Lior Garzon set a down screen for Siegrist to come off for a wide open triple, giving her 15 points in the game and the 12th spot on the all-time scoring list. 

The junior forward went on to score 10 more points, leading the Wildcats to a 71-56 victory over Providence. 

“I’ll gladly have her pass me,” said Dillon on the achievement. “I hope more of these players pass me. It’s fantastic, she’s moving right along.” 

Neither Dillon nor Siegrist were aware of the milestone before the game but the two showed excitement and shared a moment after the game as Dillon congratulated her. 

“Those are two great players,” said Siegrist of Coyer and Dillon. “It’s an honor.” 

Friday’s game marks just the third Big East matchup in which the Wildcats have had their starting five healthy and available. Missing Siegrist for the first two conference games and then playing without graduate forward Brianna Herlihy last weekend due to COVID-19, Dillon and the team are relieved to have the group back together. 

Before missing two games, Herlihy had registered four straight double-doubles in four Wildcat wins. She didn’t skip a beat in her return, recording a near double with nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds. 

“Tuesday was fun,” said Dillon on Herlihy rejoining the team for practice earlier in the week. “You could just see the team was excited [to be back together] when we hadn’t really been since before Christmas. She is the ‘mom of the team’, takes everyone under her wing and her energy is contagious.” 

The Wildcats found an offensive spark from multiple players in the win, with Garzon adding nine points, four rebounds, and three assists while freshmen Lucy Olsen and Kaitlyn Orihel added seven and eight points, respectively. Olsen has been key for the ‘Cats’ offense over the last five games, recording 17 assists with just three turnovers in that stretch. 

Villanova was prepared for the Friars coming into this game following a 20 point loss on the road in early December. It knew Providence would present some challenges with size, but for a team with a height disadvantage in nearly every position, Villanova dominated the boards, outrebounding the Friars 41-36 and recording 32 points in the paint. 

“This was our revenge tour,” said Siegrist. “We lost to these guys by 20 up there so we knew coming in that we had to bring it tonight. They’re a good team, really big, so we knew we had to bring it right from the get go.” 

The ‘Cats did just that, jumping out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter while holding the Friars to 5-15 shooting, 0-2 from behind the arc, in the quarter. Villanova was firing on all cylinders, wearing the Friars down in the first quarter before stepping on the gas in the second, taking a 15 point lead three minutes into the period, an advantage that they would hold until the final buzzer. 

The second half was the same story, with the ‘Cats extending their lead to 20 within the first minute of play behind a layup from Olsen followed by a three from Orihel. Villanova led by as many as 24, shooting 47% from the field in the third to hold a 59-38 lead entering the final quarter. 

The Friars, led by freshman guard Kylee Sheppard with 11 points, tried to chip away, cutting the lead to 13 in the fourth quarter, but with just over two minutes to play, there was not enough time to overcome the deficit. 

With the win, Villanova moves to 10-6 overall, 4-3 in conference. The ‘Cats will host Creighton on Sunday as they try to avenge another tough loss from early December. 

“You gotta have a bigger plan, a vision of your season and what you want,” said Dillon. “We gotta make up for some of those games that we didn’t win and [we have] an opportunity on Sunday to see where we really stand in the league.”