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Amna Subhan | | February 16, 2023

Maddy Siegrist, the nation's top scorer, is breaking records, leading Villanova women's basketball to rare heights

South Carolina, DI college basketball's last unbeaten team, leads the Power 10 rankings

Each offseason, Villanova star Maddy Siegrist adds a new offensive tool to her arsenal. Before Siegrist’s senior season, the nation’s leading scorer worked on perfecting the fadeaway jumper. 

She'd catch the ball at the corner of the key, back to the opponent, take a couple of dribbles and bump the defender to create space, pull up and shoot the fadeaway. Countless hours practicing the move until it became muscle memory paid off. 

It’s the shot that placed her atop the all-time Villanova — women's and men's — scoring list. 

On Jan. 20 in a 73-57 win at Creighton, Siegrist broke the 36-year-old record previously held by Shelly Pennefather — a Wildcat from 1983-87. Pennefather set the record with 2,409 points.

"It was always like something weighing in the distance," Siegrist said. "I was like, 'Oh, maybe someday.' And then someday was that day; it was just surreal."

The game stopped to commemorate the moment. She found coach Denise Dillon first, who wrapped her in a hug. Teammates congratulated her on the sidelines, then with a water — in lieu of champagne — shower in the locker room. 

Siegrist notched 23 points in the win, continuing her season-long streak of recording at least 20 points. She's since pushed her scoring average this season to 29.4 — more than 4 points per game higher than her average last season. Nationally, her 29.4 average rates at least two points per game higher than anyone else.

The record breaking didn’t stop there. Not a month later, Seigrist elevated to another level. Against Seton Hall at home, Siegrist exploded for 50 points. No other NCAA DI player has scored as many points this season. 

MORE: Siegrist scores the most of any DI men's or women's player this season

A career-high performance set a new program record. It also broke the Big East women's basketball all-time regular season scoring record with 1,550 points. 

"It's really an honor just to have your name in that conversation," Siegrist said. 

Year over year, Siegrist has improved. She scored 18.8 a game as a freshman. Now as a senior, she's improved that by over 10 points. 

Here's a look at Siegrist's career numbers: 

2022-23 29.4 9.4 53.8 41.1
2021-22 25.3 9.2 49.3 34.6
2020-21 22.8 9.8 48.3 36.4
2019-20 18.8 8.9 44.7 32.5

*statistics through Feb. 15

It's not just her who has improved this season, however. Villanova as a whole took a giant leap by cracking the AP top 15 rankings for the first time in 20 years. 

In 2022, the Wildcats were a sneaky team on the prowl for upsets. Siegrist and company knocked off No. 6 BYU as a No. 11 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Just a week ago, Villanova was slotted as a No. 4 seed in the DI Women's Basketball Committee's top-16 rankings, the first of two reveals.

Last season, Villanova upset UConn to hand the Huskies their first conference loss in 169 games with a 72-69 win at home. 

TOP-16: A breakdown of the first committee rankings of the season

Now, the Wildcats (23-4, 14-2 Big East) trail UConn by just one game in the standings (23-4, 15-1 Big East). A Saturday afternoon matchup versus the Huskies could decide the conference race. 

As Siegrist reaches new heights, this Villanova squad follows, hoping for the program's best NCAA tournament run since the Wildcats reached the Elite Eight in 2003.

She's been named to several award watch lists including the Naismith Player of the Year. Dillon was also named to the Naismith Coach of the Year award watch list in her third year at the helm. 

Following Siegrist's monster 50-point effort, she had an encore of 39 points at St. John's on Wednesday. Carnesecca Arena is just over 80 miles from her hometown of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. A pack of fans in the stands waited for Siegrist after the game hoping for an autograph from the emerging household name. 

When Siegrist stepped onto Villanova's campus entering her redshirt freshman season in 2018, she didn't see herself leaving as the all-time scorer with a chance to make a March Madness run.

“I always wanted to be one of the better players, but I never thought, no, I never could have thought that,” Siegrist said. “Not right away at least.” 


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