Wildcats Rout Penn, 67-41, Remain Undefeated


Olivia Gordon/Villanovan Photography

Maddie Burke finished with 12 points on four triples in the win.

Brooke Ackerman, Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA — The women’s basketball team had a dominating 67-41 win over the University of Pennsylvania on Thursday night. 

Coming off a two game win streak, the Wildcats traveled to the historic Palestra to take on the Quakers in their Big 5 matchup. With their win Thursday night, Villanova has now won 45 out of its past 48 matchups against Penn. 

Penn came into the matchup hoping to break Villanova’s streak of dominance. The Quakers came out hot in the first quarter, winning the tipoff, and then driving through the paint to score the first basket of the game. 

The rest of the first quarter remained even, as both teams continued to respond to one another, keeping the score close. Villanova was quick on the transition, with fast possessions, but were never able to pull away with more than a three point lead. 

With a back and forth first quarter, the Wildcats headed into the second quarter up 16-13 as they looked to take full control.

“You just got to figure out where you’re gonna get looks and where you need to get stops,” head coach Denise Dillon said. 

“It takes some time…for some to get comfortable.” 

And come the second quarter, the Wildcats found that comfort. They found their groove. 

With a few stopped possessions, senior forward Maddy Siegrist and junior guard Maddy Burke were able to come up big. Burke especially had a standout quarter, sinking back to back three-pointers that increased Villanova’s lead to double digits.

“It was huge,” said Burke. “My teammates just [told] me to keep shooting, my coach told me to keep shooting.” 

Along with Burke, who finished with 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from distance, Siegrist had her usual standout performance. The senior put up 22 points and 11 rebounds, marking her third consecutive and 40th career double-double. 

Siegrist recorded 18 of her points in the first half to help increase the Wildcats’ lead to 42-27 at the end of the second quarter. 

The game was slow in the beginning of the third quarter, with no team scoring for the first two and a half minutes of play. However, the Wildcats continued to capitalize on their offensive chances, and remained strong on the defensive end, spearheaded by junior guard Brooke Mullin, who Dillon said “set that tone from beginning”, defensively.  

Back on the offensive end, though, Villanova continued to extend their lead in the third quarter. Villanova solidified it with a three pointer from junior guard Bella Runyan at the buzzer, which sent the Wildcats into the fourth quarter up, 58-31. 

With such a commanding lead, Dillon noted how the goals of the team shifted come the second half of play.

“It became more trying to make a play as opposed to again, allowing your teammates to get you up and making that extra pass,” Dillon said. “Not feeling like you’re pressing to make something out of it.” 

In the final quarter of the game, the Wildcats were able to see some new faces on the court such as freshman forward Megan Olbrys and junior center Kylie Swider, who both saw their first minutes of the season. But, with such a commanding lead, there was little action in the final minutes of the game, as Villanova closed out their 67-41 win at the Palestra.  

With this dominating win over the Quakers, the Wildcats continue to maintain their rank in the top 25. 

“It’s incredible,” said Burke, about being ranked. But, for right now, her focus is “just staying humble and going one game at a time.”

For Villanova, that next game is another Big 5 matchup, this time against Temple this weekend.

“You’re flipping the switch pretty much…our girls better get their legs ready… [Temple is] gonna look to push, rebound, all those things,” said Dillon. 

Villanova is set to take on the Owls Sunday, November 20 at 5 p.m. in its fourth straight away game of the season.