CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)
Our first year of covering women’s college basketball was one to remember. The City 6 had a strong collective year, with an NCAA Tournament squad, an NIT run, and several other programs that have bright futures ahead thanks to some impressive young talent. Included amongst the collective talent was one of the nation’s top scorers, some of its most impressive youngsters, and a host of talented veterans who stepped their game up to another level this year.
Without further ado, here are the inaugural CoBL City 6 WBB Awards for the 2021-22 season:
City 6 Player of the Year
Maddy Siegrist (Jr. | Villanova)
Siegrist’s year didn’t start off well: she only scored 21 combined points in her first two games, dealing with a wrist injury she then aggravated, costing her the next six. When she retook the floor, she was one of the best players in the country.
The 6-foot-1 forward from Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) scored 36 points in her return from the injury list and never cooled off, scoring in double figures in every game the rest of the season. There was a 42-point outing at Marquette, 31 at Butler, 34 at St. John’s, 31 at DePaul. And the Wildcats kept winning, winning, winning, all the way well into March, 20 out of 22 games once she came back before the Big East championship game against UConn.
Maddy Siegrist (above) was one of the top players in the country this season in all of WBB. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Her raw numbers are impressive on their own: Siegrist finished the season averaging 25.3 ppg, No. 2 in the country. She was tops in the country in field goals per game (9.5), adding in 9.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists; her Player Efficiency Rating (PER) a staggering 38.9, eighth-best nationally, according to HerHoopStats.
The sharpshooting wing made nearly 35% from beyond the arc, but also was capable in the mid-range and in post-up situations, an expert cutter who can finish with ease with either hand, and doesn’t mind if she has to absorb some contact to get her production. Even with defenses keying more and more on how to slow her down, she shot a career-best 49.3% overall and 82.1% from the foul line, making her one of the most efficient scorers around despite her high volume.
For her performance this season, Siegrist was named a third team All-American, and is our City 6 Player of the Year. She finished the season with north of 1,800 points, alone in third place in the program’s scoring list, within 200 points of second place (Nancy Bernhardt, 1980-84) but 600 back of Shelly Pennefather (1983-87) for the top spot.
And she’s not done yet.
All-City 6 First Team
Tessa Brugler (Gr. | Drexel)
The Dragons only got one year out of Brugler, a 6-1 forward originally out of Nazareth Area High School (Pa.), but what a year they got. The Bucknell grad transfer averaged 13.9 ppg and a team-high 8.9 rpg, making 47.2% from the floor. A versatile offensive threat who could score in face-up or post-up situations, an excellent screen-user, and a 3-point threat as well, Brugler was an instant fit in the Drexel lineup, fitting in amongst their unselfish mentality with more assists than turnovers to boot.
HerHoopStats has a stat called PER*MIN, which factors in a players’ overall effectiveness on the court combined with their time on the court, trying to find a raw number of who had the most production. Brugler’s PER*MIN (30,877) was 35th best in the country, her Win Shares (9.1) 29th, both of which were tops on a team that won 28 games and made it to the third round of the NIT Tournament. Now she’ll spend a year on their bench as a graduate assistant, helping teach her former teammates how to try and replicate her greatness.
Mia Davis (Gr. | Temple)
There are few who’ve put their stamp on a program the way Davis put a stamp on Temple’s. She leaves North Broad as the Owls’ leader in games played (140), points scored (2,376), free-throws and field goals, and she’s second in rebounds (1,173). Of course, it helps that she was able to play five full seasons due to the COVID waiver, but there’s no denying her presence the entire time she was on the court.
Davis averaged 18.8 ppg and 7.3 rpg as a senior, numbers similar to her previous three years, a remarkable run of consistency in Cherry & White. The 6-0 wing forward out of St. Frances Academy (Md.) was a force around the bucket, capable of getting to whatever spot she wanted, finishing odd angles with ease, with either hand; this year, she shot a career-best 48.5% from the floor. She leaves some big shoes to be filled, for sure.
Kayla Padilla (Jr. | Penn)
Padilla impressed as a freshman two years ago, averaging 17.5 ppg, but after COVID shut down the entire Ivy League for the 2020-21 season, it was nearly 20 months between games when the 5-10 guard retook the court for her junior year. But she picked right back up where she left off, averaging 18.5 points, 4.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game.
An absolute gunner from beyond the arc, her 2.8 3-pointers per game were 19th in the country, and she converted at a 36.8% clip, even while defenses would do everything they could to run her off the perimeter. But Padilla’s more than just a pure shooter, with a nasty crossover and a bag of tricks around the rim, and her assist number was near the top 100 in the country, according to HerHoopStats. It was a bit of a disappointing year for Penn, but Padilla’s got one more year in a Quakers’ uniform, and they’ve got the pieces to bounce back.
Kayla Spruill (above) has improved her numbers each season at La Salle. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Kayla Spruill (Sr. | La Salle)
Spruill has gotten better and better each of her four years at La Salle, and with one year of eligibility left she’s got a chance for a really special season. The 6-0 wing from Baltimore is an excellent dribble-driver who also shot 45% from 3-point range on 135 attempts to average a career-best 15.9 points, while grabbing a career-high 7.1 rebounds per game and a career-high 1.4 steals per game.
Scoring in double figures in all but seven games, Spruill topped out at 24 points against both Fordham and Davidson, coming up with four double-doubles along the way. With Spruill playing at a high level all season long, La Salle was able to go from below .500 to above it both overall and in Atlantic 10 play, setting the stage for what could be its best yet under Mountain MacGillivray, with the entire rotation slated to return.
Keishana Washington (Sr. | Drexel)
The Dragons’ 5-7 guard from Ontario was certainly a ‘Kei’ to their success, as the high-scoring senior was an absolute bucket all year long. Washington didn’t surpass the 20-point barrier for the first seven games of the year but then hit the mark 15 times during the year, topping out with an incredible 40-point outing against William & Mary. She averaged a career-best 19.2 ppg and 2.6 apg, making 42.5% of her shots and a career-best 86.5% from the foul line.
Washington does have a year of eligibility remaining, so she has a chance to come back to Drexel and add to her career scoring total of 1,505 points, which puts her 11th on the school’s all-time list. (She wouldn’t be able to reach the No. 1 spot, Gabriela Marginean’s 2,581 points, but No. 2 would be well within reach). If not, the 2021 CAA Tournament MVP and three time all-conference selection would still have left quite a legacy in West Philly.
All-City 6 Second Team
Talya Brugler (Fr. | Saint Joseph’s)
The younger sister of Drexel’s standout forward named above, Talya Brugler is a player to watch in her own right, with a terrific debut season on Hawk Hill. The 6-0 forward averaged 10.6 ppg and 5.7 rpg, shooting 50.4% overall, showing she can make 3-pointers (21-of-60, 35.0%). Most impressively she showed resilience after a strong opening game was followed by a rough stretch, but midway through the season she settled in and closed by scoring in double figures in 16 of the last 19 games, with three double-doubles.
Lior Garzon (Soph. | Villanova)
Garzon slid into the starting lineup full-time for the Wildcats in her second year on the Main Line, averaging 13.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg and 1.3 spg as their second-leading scorer. The 6-1 forward from Israel shot 30.7% from 3-point range on 215 attempts, making her one of the more prolific shooters in the country, but she’s not afraid to bang around inside and score around the rim. She could hit 1,000 points this upcoming season, and has three years of eligibility remaining.
Brianna Herlihy (Gr. | Villanova)
The Wildcats’ sixth-year forward is perhaps the ultimate ‘glue girl’ in the city, a 6-0 wing who does a little bit of everything, depending on the game. She averaged 10.7 ppg and a career-best 8.2 rpg, plus 3.1 assists and 1.4 steals, shooting 39.4% from the floor. A versatile defender who can switch onto all five positions, Herlihy was a valuable piece at both ends of the floor and her leadership isn’t to be discounted, either.
Katie Jekot (above) was the engine behind St. Joe's young team this year. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Katie Jekot (R-Sr. | Saint Joseph’s)
Playing on a Hawks squad that featured a number of freshmen and fewer experienced veterans, Jekot’s experience as a fifth-year guard was invaluable towards helping them improve over the course of the season. The 5-9 guard out of Cumberland Valley and second-oldest of four ball-playing Jekot sisters averaged 9.4 ppg and 4.9 apg, dealing out a season-high 12 assists against La Salle and scoring a season-high 25 against Temple, adapting her game to whatever her team needed on that particular day.
Hannah Nihill (R-Sr. | Drexel)
Nihill made the decision to come back to Drexel for her fifth season — after playing field hockey in the fall, because why not? — and made the most of it, helping lead the Dragons to one of the best seasons in program history. She didn’t need to score as much as last year, averaging 13.9 ppg (down from 16.3), but she stepped up her assists (4.8/game) while shooting a career-best 42.1% overall and 82.9% from the foul line. The Cardinal O’Hara product leaves West Philly with her name all over the Drexel record book.
Jordan Obi (Soph. | Penn)
Though a sophomore academically, this was Obi’s debut season of college hoops, and she made it a good one. The 6-1 forward from Cupertino (Cali.) scored 20+ points in three of her first five games and went on to average 14.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest, with seven double-doubles on the season. Obi’s at her best around the basket but also can step out and knock down shots from distance, a skill she’ll need to continue to work on to reach her true potential and help the Quakers to an Ivy League title.
Honorable Mention: Aniya Gourdine (Fr. | Temple), Claire Jacobs (Jr. | La Salle), Mariah Leonard (Gr. | Drexel), Molly Masciantonio (Sr. | La Salle), Mackenzie Smith (Fr. | Saint Joseph’s), Alexa Williamson (Jr. | Temple)
Co-Coaches of the Year
Denise Dillon, Villanova
Amy Mallon, Drexel
Dillion and Mallon spent 16 years together on the Drexel sidelines, so it’s only fitting that they’re together as Co-Coaches of the Year after each leading their teams to terrific seasons in their second years at their current gigs.
Under Dillon, Villanova went 24-9, including 15-4 in Big East play, the program’s most wins since going 28-6 and reaching the Elite 8 back in 2002-03. They beat UConn, ending the Huskies’ incredible 145-game conference winning streak that dated back to March 2013, the longest in women’s college hoops history. Before losing to Michigan in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats had won 19 of 21 games, powered by Maddy Siegrist, Lior Garzon, Brianna Herlilhy and the rest.
Just about 10 miles down Lancaster Avenue, Mallon was keeping the ball rolling from last year’s NCAA Tournament appearance. The Dragons won a program-record 28 games, going without a loss from Nov. 27 until Feb. 6, a 14-game winning streak rocketing them to the top of the CAA standings. Drexel’s women were one of the most unselfish groups in the country, averaging more than 16 assists per game, as well as one of the toughest defensive squads in the CAA, and that’s credit to Mallon and her staff.
Rookie of the Year
Talya Brugler (Fr. | Saint Joseph’s)
A former standout at Nazareth High School, Brugler has a bright future ahead of her on Hawk Hill after closing her freshman year out on a tear. During Atlantic 10 play, she averaged 13.0 ppg and 7.3 rpg, playing just under 34 minutes per contest, and hitting 34% from 3-point range. Her PER of 20.7 put her in the top 16% of all Division I players, and her win shares (3.8) were the same, according to HerHoopStats. Part of a trio of terrific St. Joe’s freshmen who are returning for their sophomore years, Brugler is a big reason hopes are high on Hawk Hill.
Honorable Mention: Laila Fair (Fr. | Saint Joseph’s), Aniya Gourdine (Fr. | Temple), Jordan Obi (Soph. | Penn), Lucy Olsen (Fr. | Villanova), Mackenzie Smith (Fr. | Saint Joseph’s)
Most Improved Player
Mia Lakstigala (Sr. | Penn)
It’s true that Lakstigala had a bit of an advantage in this category — as Penn took a year off, the 5-11 guard from Naperville (Ill.) had a little extra time to build on her previous season. But the leap she took was so big, there’s no doubt she deserves this honor. As a sophomore, Lakstigala only played 5.9 minutes per game in 20 outings. This year, she was a full-time starter, averaging 11.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg and 2.0 apg, topping out with a 21-point outing against Brown, with 12 double-digit scoring outings overall; she also shot 35.8% from 3-point range on 123 attempts.
Honorable Mention: Lior Garzon (Soph. | Villanova)