No. 10 Villanova Loses Second Straight Big East Title Game to No. 7 UConn, 67-56


Gabi Frank/Villanovan Photography

Senior forward Maddy Siegrist scored 21 in Villanova’s loss to UConn.

Owen Hewitt, Co-Sports Editor

UNCASVILLE, CT – No. 10 Villanova couldn’t overcome shooting struggles in the Big East Championship game, falling to No. 7 UConn, 67-56. 

Senior forward Maddy Siegrist finished with 21 points and nine rebounds on 9-21 shooting, extending her streak of 20-point games this season to 34. She’ll need one more 20-point game to tie the record set by Kelsey Plum at Washington, and two to pass Plum. Sophomore guard Lucy Olsen was the other Wildcat in double figures, finishing with 14 points on 4-20 shooting. 

The first was back-and-forth, with the Huskies only outscoring the ‘Cats by five in the quarter. The quarter would close 19-14 with UConn leading. The ‘Cats shot the ball 25 times opposed to the Huskies’ 12, but the ‘Cats would go 6-25 including 0-10 from three.  

“That shouldn’t dictate the other side of the floor,” Siegrist said of the early offensive struggles. “I think we let it, I definitely let it a little bit today. But we came out really, really hard and we were getting everything we wanted, and we didn’t really take advantage like we should have.” 

The Huskies, on the other hand, would shoot 7-12 from the field. The ‘Cats grabbed 10 offensive rebounds in the quarter but were only able to turn that into six second-chance points. 

“The panic button gets hit a little earlier when shots aren’t falling,” head coach Denise Dillon said. “Then you start second-guessing yourself.” 

In the second, the ‘Cats went on an 8-0 run to take a one-point lead at the 7:27 mark, 22-21. It would be their last lead of the game. UConn answered with a 9-0 run to close out the half and went into the locker room with a 10-point lead, 34-24.  

After the break, the Huskies exploded offensively. After a jumper from senior guard Brooke Mullin, the Huskies would go on a 20-3 run to push their lead to 25, the largest it would get on the night. 

From there, the game felt like a formality. Villanova outscored the Huskies 17-6 in the fourth to cut the final margin to 11, but it was all too little too late for the ‘Cats, who fell one win short of the Big East postseason title for the second straight year.  

The ‘Cats are now 1-6 against ranked opponents, with three of those losses coming against the Huskies.  

“You just have to use it as a motivational factor,” Dillon said. “They’re aware.” 

The ‘Cats will now wait for their name to be called on Selection Sunday. The team is a surefire bet to appear on the bracket, the only question is how high they will be seeded. If the team receives a fourth-seed or higher, they will host the first weekend of the tournament at the Finneran Pavilion.  

“This is going to sting,” Siegrist said. “It stings tonight, it’ll sting tomorrow, and then you got to move on and get ready for the next game.”