Women’s Basketball Tops No. 24 Princeton on Road


Olivia Pasquale/Villanovan Photography

Maddy Siegrist (above) had a game-high 32 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.

Jacob Artz, Staff Writer

After a defensive slugfest at Finneran Pavilion last season that resulted in a 59-42 Princeton win over Villanova, Friday’s offensive explosion was in order.

Not from a team, but an individual player.

Senior forward Maddy Siegrist hit two clutch shots late to thwart a Princeton rally and propel Villanova to a 69-59 win at Jadwin Gymnasium in Princeton, NJ.

The first shot came with 1:30 to go when Siegrist hit an off-balance jumper approaching the left baseline. Her shot hit high off the glass and rolled in, putting the Wildcats up 62-59. She told ESPN’s Dei Lynam that she was not aiming to hit off the backboard, but the result is what matters.

Her next shot was the shot that effectively ended the game. Siegrist received the ball at the high block, faded away, made the shot with ease and was fouled. She calmly made the free throw, putting Villanova up 65-59 with 43.7 seconds to play.

Villanova added two free throws from sophomore guard Lucy Olsen and sophomore guard Kaitlyn Orihel with 30 and 18 seconds to go, respectively, to set the final score.

Siegrist poured in 32 points and 13 rebounds, making 12-of-17 field goals to earn her second consecutive double-double. 

Despite Princeton only allowing 51.5 points per game on defense last season and earning a Top-25 ranking, Siegrist was not fazed.

Siegrist must have had last year’s nightmarish performance in her mind when it came to her offensive mindset at Princeton. Last season, Siegrist was held to 10 points and 5-for-17 from the field. Villanova committed 20 turnovers and had eight shots blocked in last year’s loss.

Siegrist had 11 first quarter points on Friday.

The star’s offensive performance looked to be in trouble as she exited with four fouls with 9:33 to go, and the offense sputtered.

The Wildcats only had one field goal until Siegrist returned with 4:45 to go. The offense looked out of rhythm with the shot clock waning on the possessions and a lack of movement without the ball.

Olsen posted a season-high 18 points, shooting 50% from the field (7-for-14) including two threes. Olsen was the only scorer during that time frame with a jumper at the 8:52 mark.

For the game, Villanova shot 24-for-53 from the field (45.3%) and 7-for-17 from beyond (41.2%). Villanova made 14-of-16 from the line (87.5%), which gave it the cushion it needed at the end of the game.

Princeton could not miss from three early on, with the team going 6-for-8 (75%) from downtown in the first quarter, paced by senior Grace Stone’s perfect 4-for-4 from deep. Stone scored 15 points in the first quarter alone.

Princeton had three players in double figures. Julia Cunningham paced the team with 18 points, most of them coming in the second half. Stone had 17 points in the game, as Wildcat senior Brooke Mullin took over her defensive assignment and held Stone to two points in the final three quarters. Paige Morton chipped in with 10 for the Tigers.

Princeton did make the game interesting in the second half. 

Villanova ended the second quarter with a run that gave it the edge. With the game tied at 23 with 6:23 to go in the 2nd quarter, the ‘Cats went on an 18-7 run to end the first half. This included back-to-back threes from Siegrist and junior guard Maddie Burke from almost the same spot to make it 29-23.

The onslaught continued with sophomore guard Zanai Jones executing a filthy crossover for an easy layup to make it 31-25 with 3:53 to go in the first half. Olsen added two layups, including one to end the half, and another Siegrist three-pointer made it 41-30 at the half. Villanova outscored Princeton 21-9 in the second quarter.

Princeton used its motto of #GetStops to change the momentum in the third quarter. The Tigers started to clamp down on defense with the Wildcats struggling to run their sets and the shot clock close to expiring on multiple possessions. Princeton outscored Villanova 19-12 in the third quarter. The score was 53-49 after three.

On offense, Princeton was kicking it inside, sucking the Villanova defenders in and allowing open three-point shots for the Tigers. A mix of layups and open mid-range and three-point shots gave the Tigers the lead.

With a three-pointer by Cunningham with 4:01 to go, Princeton was ahead 59-57, but that was the last point it would register.

While Villanova won, it came at a cost. Starting guard Bella Runyan went down awkwardly by the baseline with 7:58 to play in the second quarter. She was seen with wraps around her left ankle on the bench.

After this tough road win over a ranked opponent, Villanova will hit the road once again. Villanova heads to the famous Palestra to take on Pennsylvania next Thursday night at 7 p.m.