A Maddy Siegrist Monday — Brenda Frese talks Maryland surge — Must-click women’s basketball links

The IX: Basketball Wednesday with Howard Megdal, Mar. 1, 2023

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — As my daughter and I drove the final few feet into the Walsh Gymnasium parking lot, a gathering crowd best understood as the Maddy Siegrist Effect joined us to see the Villanova senior put on a show.

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Walsh is always festive, but the combination of Seton Hall fans and the large group who drove either up the New Jersey Turnpike from Philly or down the New York Thruway from Poughkeepsie (henceforth known as Birthplace of Maddy Siegrist) were treated to the inescapable fact of Siegrist’s dominance.

Seton Hall knows what’s coming, of course, when they play Villanova. Pirates head coach Tony Bozzella is as smart as they come, the team features numerous bigs who can defend her and wings geared to help. And yet: down in Philly, Siegrist scored 50 against them, setting the Big East all-time scoring record in the process.

This time, she was quiet. Just 32.

It’s all enough on its own to merit the crowd who gathered around her after the game, her Wildcats victorious, speeding toward a top-four seed and a chance to host the first two rounds of their NCAA Tournament journey. But there are many reasons for Villanova’s success this season, from Lucy Olsen and Maddie Burke‘s long-distance abilities to Brooke Mullin and Bella Runyan‘s secondary playmaking.

Christina Dalce might be the single biggest X-factor, though, with her rapidly improving offensive game to pair with a defensive ability that’s going to land her on 2025 WNBA Draft boards. (Remember who told you first.)

It’s Siegrist, though. It’s her rebounding, her defending, her finishing through traffic, so much traffic, with a calm that never seems to leave her even as she finds the smallest of spaces to fire away from anywhere on the court. Nothing easy, yet nothing forced.

A Siegrist family reunion broke out when it was over, children off to pose for photos with the star — a good practice for her WNBA career ahead. I’d trekked into a snowstorm with my daughter so she could see Maddy Siegrist play, knowing what we’d get. 31 times Maddy Siegrist has taken the court this season, 31 times she’s scored 21 points or more.

For my daughter, a moment she was still buzzing about this morning. For Maddy Siegrist? Just another Monday.

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Tweet of the week

Five at The IX: Brenda Frese, Maryland

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By: Addie Parker, @addie_parker, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: @TheIceGarden, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by Howard Megdal

Howard is the founder of The Next and editor-in-chief.