Career Night from Siegrist Leads the Wildcats to Overtime Win, Defeating Marquette, 74-63


Courtesy of Olivia Pasquale/Villanovan Photography

Maddy Siegrist (above) scored a career high 42 points in the team’s ninth straight win.

Meghann Morhardt, Co-Sports Editor

Riding an eight game win streak and coming off of a huge upset against No. 8 UConn on Wednesday night, all eyes were on Villanova to see if it could continue the hot streak and complete the season sweep against Marquette. 

Behind a career night from redshirt junior forward Maddy Siegrist, the Wildcats defeated the Golden Eagles 74-63 in overtime to extend their win streak to nine and move up to second in the Big East rankings. 

Siegrist finished with a career high 42 points, passing her previous best of 41 by scoring 16 in the final quarter and overtime. Her 42 points advanced her two spots on the all-time scoring list, passing 2013 graduate Laura Sweeney and 2020 grad Mary Gedaka to move into sixth place with 1575 career points. She also grabbed 13 rebounds, recording her third straight double-double and eighth of the season. 

Graduate guard Brianna Herlihy added 14 points, seven rebounds and four steals while senior guard Brooke Mullin added nine points of her own. 

“I say it everyday, Maddy and Brianna are just leading this group,” said Vilanova head coach Denise Dillon. “I think it was more of a will today, Maddy brought that will to win the game, and they’re all following suit. We say ‘it’s never out’, we’re going down fighting no matter what.”

After struggling from the free throw line in their game on Wednesday, the Wildcats were perfect from the charity stripe on Friday, including 10-10 in the fourth quarter and overtime. 

A common theme for the ‘Cats this season has been defense and tonight was no different. To overcome shooting 41.9% from the field and 28.6% from deep, the ‘Cats had to use their defensive pressure to keep themselves in the game, and by forcing 14 turnovers and recording seven steals, they were able to do just that. 

“[Our] poise, effort, and just relentlessness on the defensive end gave us a chance to go into overtime,” Dillon said. “Then they really got it done in that overtime quarter. It was unbelievable.” 

After a game as intense and emotional as Wednesday’s win, there was always the concern that the team would experience a let down and not be able to carry that momentum into their next contest. Despite a slow start in the first quarter, Dillon and her squad’s next-game mentality allowed them to push through and fight for the win. 

“We didn’t even talk about it,” said Dillon of the UConn game. “We haven’t even taken time to talk about that game and actually what was accomplished. I said it to Maddy and Brianna, but this is stuff we’ll reflect on in April when it’s all set and done, so let’s just keep rolling.” 

Marquette started the game hot, making four of its first six points to take the lead with 7:48 left in the first, an advantage that it would not relinquish until overtime. The ‘Cats were able to keep the game within reach throughout the opening half, trailing 35-31 at the break. 

The second half was more of the same, with Villanova finding more of an offensive rhythm and the Golden Eagles continuing to respond. The momentum started to shift when the Wildcats forced back-to-back steals, sparking a 6-0 run to tie the game at 39 with 4:11 remaining in the third. 

Marquette was able to extend their lead back to five, but four more points from Siegrist and a big block from Herlihy brought the ‘Cats within three, trailing 48-45 entering the final 10 minutes of regulation. 

The fourth quarter was all back and forth, with neither team scoring consecutive baskets without a response on the other end. After a crucial shot clock violation from the Golden Eagles, Siegrist drilled a jumper in traffic to cut the lead to one with 35 seconds remaining. 

The Wildcats, with only two team fouls in the quarter, fouled three times before sending graduate guard Karissa McLaughlin to the line for Marquette. McLaughlin went 1-2 to make the score 58-56, and the ‘Cats called a timeout with two seconds remaining. 

Villanova set up an inbounds play designed for Siegrist, who caught the ball deep in the post and was fouled on her layup attempt with 0.9 seconds on the clock.

“There’s a number of side-out plays you can run, but when you’re at 2.2 on the clock, it has to just be a direct line to the basket,” Dillon said of the play call. “I thought Brooke (Mullin) placed it beautifully, they just made eye contact, sealed on that back end and she just threw it right to the rim. I couldn’t be happier with that execution.” 

The captain confidently stepped up to the line and drained both free throws, tying the game and sending her team to overtime. 

“I wanna say I knew they were gonna go in,” said Siegrist of her clutch free-throws. “Just take your time, put them up and in.” 

The energy in the Finneran Pavilion was palpable as the team prepared to enter five minutes of overtime. 

“The game swung,” said Siegrist about the team’s mindset entering overtime. “I think everyone can attest to that, we just felt the game had swung our way.”

After just 18 seconds of play, Siegrist forced a steal and took off for a fast break layup giving the Wildcats the lead and sparking a 6-0 run. The Golden Eagles stopped the bleeding with two free throws, but back-to-back steals from Herlihy led to four quick points, giving the ‘Cats a double digit lead with 1:08 to play. 

Marquette fouled to stop the clock, but it was never enough as the ‘Cats cruised their way through the final minute to secure the win. 

With the win, Villanova improves to 17-6 on the season, 11-3 in conference, just two games behind top ranked UConn. Marquette fell to 17-6 and 10-4, dropping into fifth in conference standings. The Wildcats will play their fifth game in 10 days on Sunday as they travel to Seton Hall and look to complete another season sweep on the road.