Villanova won its first home game of the season last night at the Finneran Pavilion, defeating the Manhattan Jaspers, 63-51. The win was the team’s second straight, improving its record to 2-3 on the season.
The ‘Cats were once again led by redshirt freshman Madison Siegrist, who recorded the first double-double of her career with 28 points and 14 rebounds. Earlier this week, Siegrist was named the US Basketball Writers’ Association Freshman of the Week. She was nominated for the award following her recognition as the Big East Freshman of the Week.
“The first few games I was very nervous,” Siegrist said. “Now, the more games I play, it’s just basketball, same rim and court as in high school.”
By the first half, Siegrist had already secured a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Mary Gedaka finished with 17 points, junior Raven James had seven points, and senior Bridget Herlihy scored five points with a career-tying high of 10 rebounds and six assists.
Down 10-9 at the end of the first quarter, the ‘Cats scored eight straight points to lead 17-10 midway through the second quarter. They led for the rest of the contest.
Up 23-16 at the half, Maddy Siegrist hit a three-pointer on the first possession of the second half to extend the lead to 10. From there, the ‘Cats went on another extended run to open up their biggest lead of the game, 34-19, with just under five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Four straight points from Manhattan freshman Emily LaPointe cut Villanova’s lead to four with 4:35 remaining in the game. LaPointe finished with a team high 18 points for the Jaspers. From there, Gedaka hit two free throws and a three-pointer to bring the ‘Cats back to a 52-43 lead.
With the game on the line, Manhattan began to commit desperation fouls, sending Villanova to the line five different times in the final 1:30 of game time. Sophomore Brie Wajer made four free throws, scoring her first career points as a Wildcat.
Despite a slow offensive start for the team, the ‘Cats shot 43% from the floor and 81% from the free throw line. They outrebounded Manhattan 44-33 and finished with eight blocks.
Even with the win, Head Coach Harry Perretta knows that his team needs to improve on the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
“We have to get Maddy [Siegrist] and Mary [Gedaka] the ball. They have the highest shooting percentages, so if we get the ball to them, maybe we’ll score more points,” Perretta said. “We have the ability to play better, we just have to work on it.”
Next up, the team travels on the road to face Georgia on Nov. 24.