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FutureStarrMaddy Siegrist Powers Villanova Past Cleveland St in March Madness
The NCAA tournament is one of America's most beloved events, taking place from mid-March to the start of April and featuring 68 teams.
Six rounds of competition (plus a play-in round) are conducted to determine the National Champion. Each round has its own distinct name: First Four, Round of 32, Sweet 16, Elite Eight and Final 4.
In Philadelphia, home to the Sixers and Eagles, Villanova University's women's basketball program is garnering local interest. That attention is largely due to star forward Maddy Siegrist, who has made history by shattering both NCAA and Villanova records during her senior season.
The 6-foot-2 senior from Poughkeepsie, New York is leading the nation with 28.9 points per game and shooting 52 percent from the floor. She's been a major factor in why the Wildcats have won 23 of their last 25 home games.
She's also an impressive rebounder, averaging 9.7 rebounds per game. She is a contender for the Big East Player of the Year award and recently named to the USBWA All-American first team.
Siegrist has always been an impressive scorer, but her improvement on defense this season has been truly remarkable. She's averaging just under 15 fewer turnovers this season than last year and showing more aggression when taking shots off the break.
On Friday, she set a Villanova all-time record for points by a senior with her 23 point performance against Creighton. The mark had previously been held by 1987 graduate Shelly Pennefather and she easily broke it.
ESPN Bracketologist Charlie Creme has Villanova pegged as a fourth-seed in the NCAA Tournament, potentially facing off against Virginia Tech or Maryland. That could be a tough draw, but if they manage to advance past those teams, Villanova has an excellent chance of reaching its first Final Four ever in school history.
Siegrist is eager to leave for the NBA Draft next year, and she still has a lot left in the tank. After breaking her ankle during her true freshman year, she's made significant improvements defensively, made more accurate shots and developed her mental game. As she prepares to depart for the draft next year, there's plenty left in the tank for Siegrist to give.
Her teammates have been equally as impressed by her development. Junior guards Bella Runyan and Kaitlyn Orihel both stated that she's a better player now than when she began her sophomore season.
Siegrist has proven to be an impact player despite her small stature of 6-1. Her ability to run the floor and shoot from beyond the perimeter have propelled the Wildcats onto the brink of becoming NCAA power in a few years, and she could potentially become an All-American as well.
Maddy Siegrist ignited the crowd at Finneran Pavilion with her record-setting performance, propelling Villanova past Cleveland St 76-59 in the first round of March Madness. As only the fifth women's player to score 1,000 points in NCAA history, Siegrist is setting the college basketball world alight.
Last Saturday, she scored a career-high 50 points in the Wildcats' 99-65 win against Seton Hall. This broke Shelly Pennefather's old BIG EAST Conference single game scoring record of 44 against Cheyney in 1985.
The senior forward shot 20-of-26 from the floor and made 4-of-6 three-pointers to lead the Wildcats. Additionally, she had 10 rebounds and two assists to her credit.
Siegrist remembered a special moment from her days playing basketball for Our Lady of Lourdes High School, when she would often show nervous energy before games. She even described how her former teammates on the Our Lady of Lourdes High School girls basketball team picked up on this behavior - and still feels some of those nerves today.
Siegrist has achieved a great deal during her time at Villanova, including being named the ACC Freshman of the Year and earning unanimous first-team All-Big East recognition. Already this season she has broken several records and plans on setting more.
She leads the Wildcats with 16.7 points per game and has also been a force on defense, allowing opponents to shoot 38 for 59 (64.4%).
The senior finished her stellar performance with three straight baskets and a career-high 15 rebounds to seal the victory. She was instrumental in leading her team on an early 16-5 run early in the fourth quarter that extended their lead to 86-58 at 4:32.
Siegrist had struggled in the first half, shooting only 3-of-12 from the field. But she found her groove during a 17-3 run that gave the Wildcats an early 42-28 lead at halftime. Additionally, she hit two free throws with 53.1 seconds left in the second quarter after Seton Hall was assessed two technical fouls consecutively.
The ACC Player of the Year has scored at least 35 points in three of her last four games. On Saturday against 13-seeded Cleveland St., she will have an opportunity to match Kelsey Plum's NCAA record for consecutive 20 or more point games.
Maddy Siegrist of Villanova University became the fifth women's player in NCAA history to score 1,000 points, capping off her incredible senior campaign with 35 points in 76-59 victory against Cleveland St on Saturday. As the fourth-seeded Wildcats (29-6), they will take on 12-seeded Florida Gulf Coast (33-3) on Monday for an opportunity at advancing to the Sweet 16 of college basketball.
Siegrist, a 6-2 senior from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., has already broken numerous records this season and earned herself her 16th player of the week honor. This week she set multiple conference records and broke several other personal bests as well.
She is averaging 28.9 points and 11.0 rebounds while shooting.600 from the field in her last two games, including an amazing 19-3 Villanova run in the second quarter that helped erase a 22-point deficit and set the tone for their victory over Seton Hall.
She set an NCAA record with 17 consecutive double-digit scoring games earlier this season and became the only player in program history to lead the Wildcats in scoring three different seasons.
On Saturday night against Cleveland State, her 33 points ranked among the most ever scored by a Wildcats player in one game. She was joined in scoring by fellow sophomore guard Kianna Smith (14 points), and junior point guard Sydney Park-Lane (20).
The Wildcats have won 29 games this season, tying for the most in school history with the 1981-82 team. While they will face a stiffer test in the Sweet 16 against 12-seed Florida Gulf Coast on Monday, they remain well-positioned to advance.
At eighth grade at Our Lady of Lourdes in New York City, Siegrist did not receive the accolades her peers did. Though she had always been an impressive athlete and her parents knew she was intelligent, they never really believed anything more of her than that. So instead of playing soccer or skiing or doing gymnastics, Ginna tried out ballet - to no avail at first! As for basketball - until Villanova University offered it to her - Ginna describes herself as "just a happy girl".
Maddy Siegrist put on a show for Villanova against Xavier, scoring 35 points to secure their 77-49 March Madness victory. Her efforts helped her become the fifth women's Division I player to reach 1,000 points and tie Kelsey Plum's streak of 35 games with 20 or more points.
Her remarkable performance last week earned her the BIG EAST Freshman of the Week award for a fourth time this season. Her 21.0 average ranked second in the league and she has been an integral part of Kentucky's remarkable season thus far.
Siegrist hit 5-of-9 from 3-point range and added 35 points, six rebounds and two blocks to her 36 points. Junior Bella Runyan and senior Brooke Mullin both scored double digits as the Wildcats won their third straight game to improve to 12-3 overall and 3-1 in conference play.
At midway through the first quarter, Kentucky held a commanding 13-0 lead and never looked back. They held Xavier to only five first-quarter field goals and outrebounded them 52-27 in terms of rebounding.
Xavier made a valiant effort in the second half, but could not crack Villanova's defense. The Wildcats used a 19-3 run to start off the second half and held an early 65-47 advantage with 2:32 left in the third quarter.
Seton Hall closed the gap in the third quarter with a 9-0 run, but Siegrist and her teammates responded with an 18-3 spurt to take a 72-49 lead into the fourth. The Wildcats then held Pirates without scoring a field goal over the final 7:33 of play for their third straight victory.
Siegrist has quickly made a name for herself as one of the finest players in college basketball. A two-time All-American, BIG EAST player of the year and AP first team selection, Siegrist is also the first player in Villanova history to lead them in scoring, assists and rebounds while becoming their all-time leading scorer with 2,799 career points.