Villanova picked up their third conference win of the season with a 78-71 win away to Seton Hall. Following losses in conference play to the UConn and DePaul, Denise Dillon’s squad needed to bounce back against the Pirates.
Maddy Siegrist fell one rebound short of a double-double with 23 points, nine rebounds, and three assists. Brianna Herlihy finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Freshman, Taliyah Medina came off the bench with a career-high 11 points for the Wildcats.
Seton Hall’s Lauren Park-Lane led all scorers with 27 points, going 12-13 from the free-throw line, almost single-handedly keeping her team in the game.
The Wildcats struggled offensively during the first quarter, with only four assists and seven turnovers. Desiree Elmore did everything for the Pirates in the first 10 minutes chipping in 11 points, two rebounds, two assists, and two steals. With only four points in the first five minutes, Villanova fell to a 20-12 deficit at the end of the opening period.
A three from Lior Garzon set the tone for the second quarter as the Wildcats. An 11-2 run set the stage for Villanova to retake the lead with Herlihy’s first points of the game. The Wildcats locked up the Pirates in the second as Seton Hall made only one of their first 10 field goals.
The ‘Cats resolved their ball security issues as they tallied eight assists to go along with zero turnovers. Sarah Mortensen carried the offensive load for Villanova during the first half, scoring 12 of her 14 points before the break. The Wildcats turned an eight-point deficit into a six-point lead at halftime.
The Pirates countered with a 9-3 run after halftime to retake the lead, but eight straight points from Siegrist returned the advantage to Villanova. Siegrist dominated in the quarter with 13 points on a perfect 5-5 shooting, including three shots from behind the arc. Despite her outburst, the two teams battled throughout the quarter with neither team jumping out to a huge lead. Villanova finished the quarter with a 58-53 edge.
The ‘Cats started pulling away during the fourth quarter. A Herlihy layup stretched the lead to 12. Garzon sealed the game with a huge steal and layup inside the final minute, securing the 78-71 victory.
Villanova returns to conference play next Wednesday, Jan. 13 against Providence at 2 p.m.