March 26, 2023
Maddy Siegrist leaves Villanova better than she found it
First Team All-American Siegrist likely headed to WNBA
Following a 70-65 Sweet Sixteen loss to the Miami Hurricanes, Villanova junior guard Bella Runyan fought back tears when asked about her teammate, All-American senior Maddy Siegrist, in the postgame press conference.
“She’s just been like an amazing role model, not just as a player, as a person off the court,” Runyan said. “Anyone that knows her knows that she’s just an amazing person. She comes from an amazing family. She puts all of us first as friends. She doesn’t just see us as teammates; she puts us first as best friends. And I’m just so honored I’ve been able to play on the same team as her, learn from her. Sometimes I forget that one of my friends is like an All-American. Or sometimes when I’m getting so mad at myself at practice, she’s going on me, I forget she’s All-American. I’m going to miss her so much.”
Villanova senior Maddy Siegrist has put the country on notice this season, while at the same time putting the Wildcats program on the national map. I won’t re-recite her incredible accomplishments, but suffice it to say it was a historic year and Siegrist absolutely deserves her spot as one of four finalists for AP Naismith Player of the Year. Her dominance is a large reason why Villanova entered the top 10 of the AP Top 25 for the first time in program history and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in twenty years.
What makes Maddy Siegrist truly remarkable, though, is how she makes people feel. The relationships she has built, the people she has impacted and the way she has become a role model for young ballers nationwide is her collegiate basketball legacy.
“Well, you can talk — everyone is going to see the numbers. The numbers are going to be there forever, which is so special, and what she has accomplished,” said Villanova head coach Denise Dillon. “I’ll tell you, when you leave your mark on people as Maddy did, there’s nothing greater. It’s a question you can ask all student-athletes, I think you ask yourself as a coach, just as a person in general: How do you want to be remembered?”
“When her teammates are going to say, like she’s just a great friend, she was a lot of fun. That’s better. They’re going to always start with that, and then they’re going to be like, yeah, you know what, she was a really good basketball player. I think that is by far the greatest accomplishment as a student-athlete where you can be recognized just as being an authentic person as opposed to just a great athlete. She’ll continue to impact the world in whatever she does.”
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What will Siegrist do next?
Although Maddy Siegrist didn’t officially state that she’d be declaring for the 2023 WNBA Draft on April 10, she did seem to indicate that she will be forgoing her extra year of NCAA eligibility.
“You know, this was a good way to go out,” Siegrist said postgame after Villanova’s Sweet Sixteen loss. “Making this round with this team, it was really special.”
If Siegrist does choose to declare for the WNBA Draft, she is widely expected to be a first-round draft pick. Here is Em Adler’s assessment of Siegrist’s offensive output and how Siegrist compares to other WNBA greats:
“She’s the BIG EAST’s all-time leading scorer. That is a conference that has included … almost everyone who’s ever gone to UConn. That’s Maya Moore. That’s Diana Taurasi. The leading scorer above all of them is Maddy Siegrist.”
“Offensively, she has taken at least 20 shots in eight different play types [this season]. And she rates in at least the 80th percentile in literally all of them. … We could talk about her stat profile for an entire episode. It’s so ridiculous the numbers that she’s put up.”Em Adler, Locked on Women’s Basketball
As basketball fans await an official announcement about Siegrist’s future, it’s important to pause to honor her remarkable collegiate success. As the transfer portal and NIL eras emerge and student-athletes are less likely to remain at one school for each year of NCAA eligibility, Maddy Siegrist is an example of an athlete whose legacy is intertwined in one program forever. She graduates as the program’s all-time leading scorer (men’s or women’s), passing program icon Shelly Pennefather. Villanova’s success is synonymous with Siegrist, and Siegrist has permanently etched her name in Wildcats lore.
With most of Villanova’s roster expected to return next season and behind the elite coaching of Denise Dillon, this Wildcats team has the potential to be a BIG EAST and national contender. Maddy Siegrist’s talent and leadership elevated the status of Villanova women’s basketball.
“It’s an amazing journey that Maddy has been on,” Villanova head coach Denise Dillon said. “And taking us all along with her has been an absolute pleasure. Just seeing her growth in so many areas.”
“But she wants to make sure that everyone around her is getting better as well because how much the program means to her. And she wants to leave her mark but certainly leave it in good hands moving forward. It’s going to continue to be great.”
Written by Tee Baker
Tee has been a contributor to The Next since March Madness 2021 and is currently a contributing editor, BIG EAST beat reporter and curator of historical deep dives.
Great article about a very special person, and not a bad basketball player. Thank you.