The Story So Far: Why the ‘Cats Are Dancing


Graydon Paul/Villanovan Photography

The Wildcats celebrate after their first round win over Cleveland State.

Owen Hewitt, Co-Sports Editor

Thirty wins in the 2022-23 season sets a record for the Villanova women’s program, previously held by the 1981-82 team with a record of 29-4. The team also achieved the program’s highest AP ranking since the poll debuted in 1976 at 10. 

The road to a 30-6 record for the ‘Cats has involved dominance from senior forward Maddy Siegrist, who led the team in scoring in all 36 of the team’s games this season. 

The season started with four straight road wins for the ‘Cats, the most impressive of which came against eventual Ivy League champions and NCAA Tournament team Princeton. The Tigers were ranked 24th in the nation at the time. Siegrist dropped in 32 on 70% shooting from the field while sophomore guard Lucy Olsen contributed 18 in a 69-59 win. 

The ‘Cats went into their Thanksgiving tournament, the Gulf Coast Showcase, with a 4-0 record. They went 2-1 in Florida, with wins over Belmont and tournament team South Florida, and a five-point loss to tournament team No. 21 Baylor.  

The first home game for the ‘Cats came in December against tournament team Creighton in the opener of conference play. It would be a loss, with the Bluejays handing the ‘Cats their second loss of the season, 67-46. Siegrist contributed 25, but no other Wildcat reached double figures. 

The ‘Cats then rattled off three wins before facing another loss, this time at the hands of tournament team then-No. 14 Iowa St. in the Invesco QQQ Hall of Fame Showcase at Mohegan Sun Arena, 74-62. Siegrist scored 32 in the loss.  

A nine-game win streak was next for the ‘Cats, as the team got into the heft of conference play. Eight of the nine wins came against Big East teams. The win streak would be broken by tournament two-seed UConn with a 63-58 loss at the XL Center in Hartford. 

Siegrist dropped 50 points in a win against Seton Hall on February 11, setting a record for most points in a single game by a Wildcat. 

A home loss to the Huskies came in mid-February, 60-51. The ‘Cats went into the Big East Tournament with a record of 26-5. They reached the tournament final but fell to the Huskies for the third time, 67-56.  

The ‘Cats went into the NCAA Tournament as a four-seed, hosting the first and second rounds. The ‘Cats came away with wins in both the first two rounds of the tournament, 76-59 against Cleveland St. and 76-57 against Florida Gulf Coast. In the game against Cleveland St., Siegrist became just the fifth NCAA player to ever score 1,000 points in a season.  

The ‘Cats advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2003 where they will face nine-seed Miami in Greenville, South Carolina, on Friday at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN.