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Northam: Siegrist's special season deserves more attention

02/28/2022, 2:15pm EST
By Mitchell Northam

Mitchell Northam (@primetimeMitch)

In her previous two seasons of college basketball, Villanova’s Maddy Siegrist made it known that she was one of the best players in the Big East.

For two straight seasons, she led the conference in scoring and rebounding, a feat matched only by Angel McCoughtry and Rebekkah Brunson – which is pretty good company, considering what those two have accomplished in college and the WNBA. And it’s remarkable for someone like Siegrist, who was once told that she was “probably not going to play a lot” at Villanova.

Maddy Siegrist (above) is having one of the best offensive seasons in the last decade for Villanova. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

But this year, Siegrist has taken her game – and the Wildcats – to new heights. A broken hand that forced her to miss nearly a month’s worth of playing time earlier this season hasn’t slowed her down one bit.

Villanova wrapped up its regular season on Sunday with a 58-49 victory over Xavier. It was the fourth straight win for the Wildcats, and their 18th out of their last 20 games. Siegrist, for the sixth straight game, had at least 25 points and seven rebounds.

As the regular season comes to a close, Siegrist is averaging 26.5 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists per-game while shooting 50% from the floor, 37% from behind the arc and 83.7% from the free throw line. Siegrist is second in the country in scoring, only to Iowa’s Caitlin Clark. Siegrist also leads the nation in field goals made per-game with 9.7.

Those numbers are impressive, sure, but when data helps us put historical context around them, they are astonishing.

Pop quiz: Since 2009 – the beginning of the HerHoopStats era – what players in a single season have shot 48% from the floor, 35% from three and 80% from the charity stripe, while averaging at least 23 points and eight rebounds per-game?

The answers: Brittney Griner, Elena Delle Donne (twice), and Maddy Siegrist.

That’s it. That’s the list.

Griner and Delle Donne – two of arguably the greatest women’s basketball players of all-time – both pulled off the statistical rarity in the 2011-12 season. Baylor rode Griner to a national title that year.  And then Delle Donne pulled it off again the next season, powering Delaware to a Sweet 16 appearance.

Siegrist this season also has a higher defensive rebounding rate (20.8%) and steal rate (2%) than either Delle Donne or Griner did in those past years.

When Siegrist was out nursing her injured hand, the Wildcats went 3-3. Since she returned on Dec. 9, they’ve gone 18-2. That stretch included a historic victory at then-ranked No. 8 UConn. The upset snapped UConn’s 169-game win streak in the Big East, and gave the Wildcats their first road win over the Huskies since 1993 – Siegrist wasn’t even born yet. She tallied 17 points and 12 boards in the win, as Denise Dillon joined Philly-native Dawn Staley as the only two women to beat UConn as a player and coach.

With Siegrist leading the way, Dillon’s side is in a position to appear in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2018. In Charlie Creme’s last bracketology update at ESPN on Monday, he is projecting the Wildcats as a bubble team, among the first four out.

Villanova received votes in the last three AP Top 25 Polls. This week, they came in at 28th, just on the outside of the rankings. Villanova is 74th in NET and the HerHoopStats ratings.

The Wildcats finished the regular season with a 21-7 record and an 11-2 mark in conference play. Their NCAA Tournament resume could still use some improvement, but the Wildcats have shown that – with Siegrist at her very best – they can beat anyone in the Big East. They’ll head to Mohegan Sun Arena this week as the No. 2 seed.


Mitchell Northam is an AP Top 25 women's basketball voter who covers WBB for CoBL, the AP, The Next Hoops + more. He’s based in North Carolina and has been covering women’s hoops since 2014.

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