During her entire high school basketball career, Maddy Siegrist attempted just 12 three-pointers. This season, in her first year of action for the Wildcats, Siegrist’s perimeter game has expanded so drastically, one would be hardpressed to identify her as the same player. Through 18 games this season, the redshirt freshman has knocked down 44 three-pointers on 109 attempts, leading the team in both categories.
Her rapid transformation can be attributed to what, admittedly, was a difficult first year at Villanova, as Siegrist redshirted the 2018-19 campaign after breaking her ankle in an early-season practice. Despite being cleared by early January, the coaching staff collectively decided it would be best for Siegrist to forgo suiting up until the next season.
“Originally I was against redshirting,” Siegrist said. “I really didn’t want to do it at all. I even thought about pulling the redshirt later, but logistically it just didn’t make sense. I was too far behind.”
Forced to sit on the bench for the first time in her basketball career, Siegrist was confined to working on her game solely in the practice setting.
“When I broke my ankle last year, every single day I just went upstairs and shot 500 shots, whether it was in the boot or on the scooter, just to be doing something,” Siegrist said. “I thought if I couldn’t get better practicing, I could get better shooting, and just become a better shooter and expand my game that way.”
The year on the bench was a mentally challenging one for Siegrist, but her competitive nature allowed her to make something out of the unfortunate situation.
“I think it made me tougher and made me appreciate playing more,” Siegrist said.
In fact, her drive, and a love for winning, was what led the Poughkeepsie, N.Y. native to chose Villanova in the first place. The program was one of her last offers during her senior year, and the school was a perfect match for her academically and athletically.
“There were lower conferences that I could’ve gone too and probably not have had to expand my game as much,” Siegrist said. “Coming here I definitely had to work on shooting a lot.”
In order to succeed in Head Coach Harry Perretta’s well established five-out offense, Siegrist had to adjust her style of play from high school.
“In high school, I was all driving the ball, all back to the basket stuff,” Siegrist said. “Last year, when I first got here, [my coaches] told me I had to learn how to shoot the three.”
Shooting the three has been the key to Siegrist’s success this season. Along with leading the team in three pointers, the 6’1” forward also shoots a team-high 49.5% from the floor, and averages a team high 20.2 points per game and 9.3 rebounds per game. This past week, she earned her eighth Big East Freshman of the Week award, to accompany her two U.S. Basketball Writer’s Association Tamika Catchings Freshman Player of the Week awards this season.
In a year with tempered expectations for the ‘Cats following injuries, transfers and the graduation of three seniors from last year, Siegrist has shouldered the burden of production.
“You gotta step up, it’s sink or swim,” Siegrist said. “The circumstances presented this year are a little different. I never would’ve expected to have to produce on offense the way that I’ve had to so far, but all my teammates put me in the position to score.”
Scoring is something that Siegrist did plenty of on Dec. 21, when she dropped 41 points in a win against La Salle, a Villanova rookie record and the second highest total for any player in program history.
With the help of Siegrist, the Wildcats now sit at 11-7 on the season, with a 5-2 record in conference play. The team holds sole possession of second place behind Depaul. Siegrist hopes to continue the team’s success all the way to a postseason tournament.
“I just want to do anything I can to help the team win,” Siegrist said. “I love winning more than anything.”