Anders Said It: Denise Dillon and the Wildcats Are Not Going Anywhere


Graydon Paul/Villanovan Photography

Dillon and the remaining Wildcats have a bright future ahead.

Anders Pryor, Staff Writer

Maddy Siegrist will never suit up as Wildcat again, and while her impact will always be felt on Villanova’s campus, she can no longer contribute to the ongoing stat sheet.  

But those stats can be replaced, and the current roster has the power to do it. 

The other constant besides Siegrist is head coach Denise Dillon. Siegrist has improved statistically in nearly every possible category throughout the years: points, assists, rebounds and free throw percentage. And, as great as Siegrist’s natural talent is, coaching is the most essential facet to unleash that talent on the court, and the system Dillon has created in order to do that with Siegrist will remain in place for all current and incoming players on the team. 

Dillon is not going anywhere.

With Siegrist gone, all signs point to Lucy Olsen transitioning from the reliable sidekick to the main attraction. Olsen is a sophomore guard who averaged 12.4 points, four rebounds and four assists a game. She developed herself into the solidified number two scoring option behind Siegrist, and has earned the respect of fans all across campus.

Many of those same fans view Olsen as the next face of the program, as her leadership on and off the court will continue to impact the entire roster. Dillon will be sure to adjust the system around Olsen’s skillset to maximize her production. 

But that will take some growing pains. 

Remember that Siegrist was arguably more famous than the actual basketball team as a whole. Her statistics and accomplishments would be worthy of awe regardless of the success of the team. But a deep tournament run was the icing on the cake that everyone was craving after being bounced in the second round last year. The team will be just as successful, however, there just might not be as shining of a star to attract students who are not consistent fans of the team. But, as Dillon has set the momentum for wins and recruiting, momentum for attendance and recognition will be followed. 

It’s not just Olsen that will contribute. Sophomore forward Christina Dalce and junior guard Maddie Burke are also expected to have increased roles in the offense. 

Both women are consistent starters who provided valuable minutes. Dalce and Burke’s best games would often be clouded over by Siegrist breaking another all time record. Now with her gone, Dalce and Burke have more room to show off their skills and traits and could be set on a path to become fan favorites and solidify themselves right behind Olsen. 

Despite having great players now, some of the best contributors could come from Wildcats that haven’t even worn the jersey yet. With high level recruits in Brynn McCurry and Maddie Webber around the corner, the next Siegrist could be pending before we even know it. 

Women’s basketball at Villanova might not feel the same with Siegrist gone, but it will look the same as long as Dillon is around, and the foundation for repeated success is set for years to come.