January 14, 2021 

BIG EAST Weekly: Remaining positive the Maddy Siegrist way

And Paige Bueckers keeps on rolling

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Hey hoops fans!

Once again the beloved BIG EAST is suffering from COVID cancellations and once again I sit here asking myself: what the heck are we doing?

I often assumed this was all about money and I still believe that. Then, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, of all people, got me thinking. You see, today is the first day of the NHL season. It’s the first day of 116 straight days of scheduled NHL play (we’ll see what ‘Rona has to say about it).

In the upload to the season, Bettman said the NHL stands to lose billons (yes, with a B) of dollars. So, why is the NHL soldiering on?

Here is what Bettman said, as reported by the Los Angeles Times:

“We’re going to run through more money, or say it differently, lose more money at the club level and at the league level by playing than by not playing but the owners unanimously are OK with that because they know how important it is for our fans and for the game. 

That’s just what we have to deal with and that’s what the clubs have decided they’re prepared to do. Even though it would be a smaller number if we just shut down for a year, everybody thought it was important, as one of the four major sports, for us to take our role and play our game and deliver what people expect from us.”

Not sure about you, but nobody polled me on whether I need hockey, or any other sport, as COVID deaths top 4,000 per day. Yes, staying away from family and friends for months was and remains difficult, but this alternative reality is far worse.

Traveling sports leagues are failing to keep their athletes and staff safe, period! So how do we endure this reality?

Today, I went back to a conversation I had with BIG EAST standout Maddy Siegrist. We spoke about the changes everyone is making because of COVID, how she bounced back from an injury early in her college career, and most importantly her faith. Perhaps you can find some comfort in Maddy’s words as a decision from the NCAA, BIG EAST, or anyone else to end this madness is, unfortunately, nowhere in sight.

Maddy on spending more time at home than usual

I was really grateful for the time home with my family, because my siblings and I were all in class together. It was so funny, college, high school, all over. You know, it will probably never happen again. I tried to really make the most of that time with my family.

My one brother is a year younger than me and then my sister is a senior in high school now, and my youngest brother is a freshman in high school.

Maddy on slowly returning to full practices at Villanova

As soon as we were back on campus, everyone was extremely motivated. Just to play again. For the first few months, we had to wear masks and … practice with small groups. And then we made that transition to team practice and then ultimately to playing games. But this season is like, like no other. I mean, we’re making day trips that are usually an overnight trip … the constant changing of the schedule. So day-by-day, you have to just be very flexible, you can’t look that far ahead. Because you really don’t know. Like any moment any team could be shut down … and you just make the most of every opportunity.

Maddy on why she chose Villanova

Villanova is actually probably the biggest school that offered me (a scholarship) and they were the last school to make me an offer. It was definitely the biggest risk. Coach Harry Perretta didn’t think I was gonna play a lot early.

I thought that I could play at this level … I really loved the school. And academically, I mean, Villanova spreads for itself and it’s such a special place. And I just thought, you know what, this is a risk, but I think it was a risk worth taking.

Maddy on overcoming injury

It was it was definitely tough. I meant I got hurt, I think it was like within the first month of real practice. As a freshman, you’re 18 years old, going away from home for that long. I thought it was like the worst in the world. And I had to tell myself and in my head, I was going to come back that year … I knew deep down that it was the best thing to do was to redshirt but I just pretended like I was gonna come back that year. And that was a way for me to just keep motivating myself.

I had a really great group around me, my family, the medical staff was great. And all the coaches were great. You know, it’s, it was really tough to watch. And I think they understood that, you know, I’ve never been sidelined like that … my dad, my coach, and my brother would always come over to me and talk me through different scenarios and that really helped me grow into it. In like X’s and O’s, to see different things and see how certain players will get open. I think that it really did help me from that. And then, you’re so grateful for every opportunity that you do have. And every time you do get to step on the court. You never forget that, it’s always with you.

#BIGEASTWeekly Awards

And the winners are…

Player of the Week

Maddy Siegrist

Freshman of the Week

Paige Bueckers, Connecticut, Fr., G

Weekly Honor Roll

Aubrey Griffin, Connecticut, So., F


Sonya Morris, DePaul, Jr., G

Chanell Williams, Providence, Sr., G

Leilani Correa, St. John’s, So., G

Lauren Park-Lane, Seton Hall, So., G

Written by Erica L. Ayala

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