No. 15 Villanova Escapes DePaul, 67-64


Graydon Paul/Villanovan Photography

Senior forward Maddy Siegrist finished with 28 points and 16 rebounds Tuesday night.

Owen Hewitt, Co-Sports Editor

On Tuesday night in the Finneran Pavilion, Villanova staved off a fourth quarter run from DePaul to best the Blue Demons, 67-64. The Wildcats led by as much as 19 in the third quarter, but a 16-3 DePaul run in the fourth cut the lead to a single possession down the stretch. The win improves the Wildcats to 24-5 overall and 15-3 in the Big East. 

Senior forward Maddy Siegrist crossed the 20-point threshold again on Tuesday night, scoring 28 points with 16 rebounds to record a double-double. She’s scored 20 or more points in all 29 games the ‘Cats have played this season. The only other DI women’s basketball player with a longer streak of 20-plus point games in the past 20 years is current WNBA star Kelsey Plum, who scored 20 or more in all 35 games Washington played in the 2016-17 season.  

Sophomore forward Christina Dalce set a school record with her 66th block of the season late in the fourth, giving her the single-season all-time blocks record. 

“Just having someone as a rim protector in that sense is key,” head coach Denise Dillon said. “I think just seeing her progression from last year to this year gives you that sense her career will enhance and her performance [will continue improving] with some offseason development. But that’s big for her.” 

The score through the first stayed tight, with DePaul leading 16-14 at the end of the quarter. Siegrist was held to five points in the quarter on 2-of-6 shooting. Aneesah Morrow led all scorers with 10 at the end of the frame. The Blue Demons utilized a 6-0 run over the last 3:38 of the first to claim the lead after the ‘Cats built a four-point margin. 

Siegrist scored 10 to open the second quarter, putting the ‘Cats back on top, 24-20, with six minutes to play in the half. She brought her total to 17 by the midway point of the second quarter. 

The ‘Cats outscored the Blue Demons 18-7 in the second. 15 of the ‘Cats 18 came from the hands of Siegrist, who had 20 by the end of the first half. The ‘Cats led at the end of the first half, 32-23.  

The Blue Demons struggled to find an offensive rhythm in the first half, shooting 1-7 from downtown in the opening two quarters. Morrow did have a double-double by the end of the first two quarters with 15 points and 10 rebounds. 

The third started with a 14-4 run for the ‘Cats, building their lead to 19 by the 6:10 mark of the third. Siegrist also secured a double-double in the quarter, picking up her 10th rebound. The double-double is her 52nd of her career, and her 15th of the season. 

The Blue Demons kept the third more competitive than the second, with the ‘Cats only outscoring the Blue Demons by five, 24-19. Sophomore forward Christina Dalce scored 10 in the frame and sophomore guard Lucy Olsen contributed seven. At the end of the third, the score stood 56-42.  

DePaul started the fourth quarter on a 16-3 run, cutting the Wildcats’ lead to one with 4:34 to play. Junior guard Darrione Rogers led the charge with seven points within the run for the Blue Demons. The lead stayed within one as the game entered its final minute.  

“Defensively, you’ve got to continue to get consecutive stops,” Dillon said. “Made it a possession game, our group is used to possession games, [it] would have been nice to hold that cushion but wasn’t the case. I thought after a tough one here on Saturday, they came back ready to play, ready to get a big win with their backs against the wall.” 

Siegrist was sent to the line for two free throws with 47.8 to play, and she converted both to push the lead to three. The ‘Cats were able to get a stop on the other end, and Siegrist went back to the line where she converted a pair again to increase the lead to five with 32.1 to play.  

Olsen came up with a steal on the ensuing Blue Demons possession and got the ball to senior guard Brooke Mullin, who converted the layup to give the ‘Cats a seven-point lead with 16 seconds to play. 

From there, the ‘Cats held on for a 67-64 win.  

The ‘Cats will be in action next against Providence at home for Senior Night. 

“We just let Maddy and Brooke play their seasons,” Dillon said when asked who will be honored on senior night. “[We’ll] continue conversations after we celebrate them as seniors… We have no problem celebrating seniors twice.” 

The game is set for a 7 P.M. tip Friday night.