Women’s Basketball Ends Season In WNIT Quarterfinals

After back to back dominant performances in the first two rounds of the WNIT, the Villanova women’s basketball team’s season came to an end on Monday night with a tough loss to Delaware. The ‘Cats fell to the Blue Hens 77-70. In a game full of runs and 14 lead changes, the ‘Cats were unable to respond in the final quarter when they needed it most. 

Delaware came out strong, leading the whole first quarter with many opportunities to pull away early, but Villanova hung around, ending the quarter down by one. The ‘Cats fought back hard in the second quarter to flip the advantage and take a one-point lead heading into halftime. 

The Blue Hens pulled away in the fourth quarter, leading by as many as ten points. Villanova was building momentum to make a run in response when star player sophomore Maddy Siegrist committed her fifth foul and had to take a seat with 3:32 left in gameplay. 

Siegrist had begun to heat up in the third quarter, scoring 8 points, but was unable to carry this into the final quarter and the ‘Cats were left without their leading scorer and best playmaker in crunchtime.  

The Blue Hens led by 7 when Siegrist exited the game, and the ‘Cats were able to cut the lead to five with 0:35 remaining, but were unable to string together enough stops to catch Delaware. 

Villanova had five players in double-digits, led by senior Brianna Herlihy and Siegrist who each finished with 15 points. Siegrist added seven rebounds, two assists, and one block, while Herlihy tallied seven rebounds, three assists, and three steals. 

Siegrist and Herlihy led the ‘Cats all season as the team’s first and second leading scorers averaging 23.2 and 13.7 points respectively. 

With impressive performances in the first three rounds of the tournament, Siegrist averaging 24.3 points per game, both Herlihy and Siegrist were named to the Charlotte Region’s All-Tournament Team. 

Senior Sarah Mortensen recorded 12 points, two assists, and a steal on the night. This marked Mortensen’s 14th double-figure scoring game of the season. After sitting out last season due to transfer restrictions, Mortensen averaged 11 points and six rebounds per game in her first season as a Wildcat. 

Also in their first seasons in ‘Cats uniforms, freshmen Lior Garzon and Bella Runyan  finished the game with 10 and 12 points respectively. Garzon added seven rebounds, and two assists.

Garzon has been crucial off the bench all season, averaging 8.7 points per game, and finishing the season with 37 made three pointers, behind only Siegrist, who finished with 42 made threes. 

The Blue Hens had three players with more than 15 points on the night, led by freshman Tyi Skinner and junior Jasmine DIckey who finished with 22 points each. Redshirt junior, Ty Battle recorded a double-double with 17 points, and a game-high 14 rebounds. 

Villanova was plagued by turnovers in the loss, finishing with 14, while Delaware only tallied eight.  

Villanova had been shooting the lights out in the first two rounds, but struggled tonight, shooting just 21.7 percent from beyond the arc, making just five threes. This struggle was highlighted in the fourth quarter when the ‘Cats scored just three field goals, on 21.4 percent shooting from the field. Delaware took advantage of this, scoring seven field goals on 50% shooting. 

The ‘Cats also faced tremendous foul trouble with five players finishing with three or more personal fouls. This created unusual offensive lineups and put pressure on the players coming off the bench to make plays and, with the exception of Garzon, they were unable to effectively adjust. 

The Wildcats finished the season with a record of 17-7, the best record since the 2017 team finished 23-9. Coach Dillon and the ‘Cats look to improve in the offseason and come back even stronger next season to continue to build the program.