Women's Basketball Takes Down La Salle In Final Big Five Meeting

In their final Big Five matchup of the season, Villanova secured their third straight win, defeating LaSalle 66-56 on the road. This gives the Wildcats a 3-1 record in the Big Five on the season, their only loss coming against Temple on November 27. 

Villanova was led by junior forward Maddy Siegrist who finished with 24 points and five rebounds. After being held to just four points on 1-of-5 shooting in the first half, Siegrist bounced back to score 20 points in the second. Siegrist has led the ‘Cats in scoring over the last three games after missing six games due to injury. 

Graduate forward Brianna Herlihy recorded her second straight, sixth career. double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Sophomore guard Lior Garzon finished with eight points and three rebounds, while freshman guard Kaitlyn Orihel added seven points off the bench for the ‘Cats.

Junior guard Brooke Mullin added a little of everything with five points, four rebounds, and a career-high six assists. 

LaSalle was led by junior forward Gabby Crawford who scored 17 points off the bench on 6-of-8 shooting. Junior guard Claire Jacobs added 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-4 from distance. 

Both teams started slow, combining for just 21 points in the first quarter, 13 of those coming from the free-throw line. Villanova led by two with 1:17 left in the quarter, but six free throws from Siegrist, Herlihy, and junior guard Kenzie Gardler stretched the lead to 14-7 entering the second period. 

The Explorers came out hot, opening the second quarter on a 8-0 run to take a 15-14 lead at the first media timeout. The ‘Cats responded out of the timeout with a strong defensive stop followed by a three-pointer from Herlihy to regain the lead. 

LaSalle scored five straight points to take a 20-17 lead with three minutes remaining in the half. The ‘Cats came up with three straight defensive stops and big baskets from Mullin, Orihel, and freshman guard Zanai Jones to close out the half on a 7-0 run, leading 24-20 at halftime. 

The ‘Cats shot just 6-of-26 from the field in the first half, but their 10-of-11 shooting from the free-throw line kept them afloat offensively. 

The Explorers struck first in the second half with a three from Jacobs to cut the Wildcat lead to one. Villanova responded with a 12-5 run behind five points each from Siegrist and Orihel to stretch their lead to eight midway through the third. 

LaSalle hung around, cutting the lead to five with two minutes remaining in the period, but the ‘Cats continued to weather the storm, holding a 42-35 lead entering the final quarter. 

A quick basket from Crawford cut the lead to five, but the Wildcats responded with two baskets from Garzon followed by two more from Siegrist to give them a 14 point lead with seven minutes remaining in the game. 

Crawford continued to try and chip away, scoring seven more points for the Explorers but LaSalle could not find an answer for Siegrist on the defensive end resulting in an 11 point Villanova lead with 1:47 left on the clock. 

LaSalle would get the game within single digits, but Villanova secured the victory with 8-of-10 shooting from the free throw line in the final 1:14. 

Villanova’s offensive struggles continued throughout the second half, finishing 20-of-55 from the field and just 5-of-20 from behind the arc. The Wildcats redeemed themselves offensively on the foul line, finishing the game at 21-of-24. 

The ‘Cats defense was the key to their success, out rebounding the Explorers 31-22 and forcing 17 turnovers off of 10 steals. 

Villanova is the only team to have completed their Big Five matchups of the season and their chance at the season title remains up in the air as they wait for the other four teams to finish their games. 

The Wildcats return to action on New Years Eve in their third Big East matchup as they host Seton Hall at home. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.