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Maddy Siegrist is playing her way towards a bright future in the WNBA

Maddy Siegrist has become a legitimate star for Villanova and is rocketing her way up big boards for the 2023 WNBA Draft.

Scroll down the list of the top 2019 freshmen recruits, and you’ll see plenty of familiar names of future stars — Haley Jones, Aliyah Boston — and those who have faded. But you won’t see, anywhere in the top 100, Maddy Siegrist of Villanova, who has come to define the program and is now just a few months from hearing her name called in the 2023 WNBA Draft.

“I definitely remember when it came out,” Siegrist told me, the two of us standing in the corridors of Mohegan Sun Arena ahead of her game on Dec. 18 against Iowa State. “Yeah, definitely use that stuff to drive yourself to continue to get better. I think the biggest thing for me was just knowing that doesn’t mean I’m not a good player or anything like that, and just using it as fuel to the fire and just try to be the best I can.”

That motivation has worked out awfully well for Siegrist and Villanova. Coming into college, Siegrist said she didn’t know if she’d even have a chance to play professionally anywhere.

“I wanted to come to Villanova to be an impact player, I wanted to be the best I could be there,” Siegrist said. “I never would have expected, you know, this.”

Siegrist was a breakout star after heading to Philadelphia — the Poughkeepsie, NY native comes from Marist stock, her father played there and she regularly attended legendary Red Foxes’ head coach Brian Giorgis’ camps, but wanted to experience a big city. She remembered her nervousness when she had to call Giorgis, who she said was gracious about her decision.

And the choice to play in the Big East paid off, when she averaged 18.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per game in her first season for the Wildcats, while taking pleasure in the cheesesteaks at Geno’s.

That season came in her sophomore year on campus, as she redshirted and healed an ankle injury. It gave her the chance to see the game as a coach would, alongside Harry Perretta, the Wildcats’ all-time winningest head coach, and served as both a way to expand her game and provide a roadmap to what she wants to do after she finishes playing basketball. It’s led her to pursue a Masters’ in Education here in her fifth year at Villanova.

“I’ve always had an interest in teaching,” Siegrist said. “I’m getting more towards the end of my career in college, I definitely want to continue to play at the next level. And then, see what opportunities there are, whether that’s coaching — I think I want to stay around the game for a while. So just, you know, having an education degree is super helpful.”

So as Siegrist enters the meat of the Big East schedule in January, she’s also going to be doing her student teaching — her class, in other words, will be helped by a 6-foot-1 leader who will also be pushing her Villanova team to exceed even last year’s trip to the NCAA Tournament Round of 32, and who will be featured prominently come April when the 2023 WNBA Draft takes place. One imagines her students will notice.

Maddy Siegrist is firmly on the radar for the 2023 WNBA Draft

You know who else is noticing? The WNBA, where there’s ample buzz around Siegrist’s skills, even as the talent evaluators are still trying to determine where she plays. After all, at first glance, she seems like a tweener — 6-foot-1, but with a game more typical of a 4 or a 5. That’s one of many reasons why her head coach, Denise Dillon, left her on the floor for all 40 minutes of a recent game against Iowa State.

The results were apparent for all to see, and provided a window into what Siegrist can be at the next level. Matched up for much of the afternoon against Ashley Joens, a future WNBA draft pick herself, Siegrist helped limit Joens to 5-for-14 shooting from the field, repeatedly blocking her shot in the process. The blocks came on closeouts, on drives to the rim, and everything in-between — one rejection, late in the third quarter, came on Joens driving baseline. Siegrist stayed calm, stayed on the ground through fakes, and swatted it away.

When she wasn’t guarding Joens, she was limiting Cyclones center Stephanie Soares, who at 6-foot-6 has five inches on Siegrist. But Siegrist outrebounded Soares, while making her an offensive non-factor for much of the game, Soares ultimately fouling out.

“Well, I think that Maddie has shown in her career, and especially this year, is continued growth,” Dillon said after the game, Siegrist’s totals coming to 32 points and 12 rebounds. “And rising to the occasion of any opponent. She just does what Maddie does. And that’s certainly why we are in a position to play a big game like this and to be a top 25 program.”

Somehow, her eye-popping freshman-year numbers were just a prelude. Her scoring averages by season read 18.8, 22.8, 25.3 and 28 so far in 2022-23. But even as she’s treated to every kind of defense geared to stop her, so too have her field goal percentages risen: 44.7, 48.3, 49.3 and 52.7 percent. And a look at her shot charts make it clear why it’s gotten so hard to stop her.

Courtesy of CBBAnalytics.com, here’s freshman-year Siegrist:

And here’s senior year Siegrist:

She’s now shooting 41.8 percent from 3. She’s the prototype stretch four, with the ability to help WNBA teams on 3s and even in some small ball lineups as a 5.

Seeing her in person takes appreciation of Siegrist’s gifts to another level, as Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly explained.

“I’ve had the honor of coaching against a lot of great players. And I don’t like to say [who’s] the best, [but] she’s on the list,” Fennelly gushed after the game. “It’s incredible. The way she moves, the stuff they run. One of my assistants made a great point, she’s like throwing darts — sizes you up and then — bang.

“And she gets fouled. She makes 3s. And the other thing I saw, to her credit, she’s a hell of a lot better defensive player than she looked like on the video.”

Her Wildcats struggled around her that day, falling behind by double digits, but Siegrist never came off the floor. Nor did she stop playing full-tilt, maximizing every moment of her time on the court, a tenure poised to last longer than even she thought it might when she arrived on the Main Line.

In the game’s final minute, the crowd mostly emptied out, the outcome no longer in doubt, her teammate Brooke Mullin found Siegrist cutting to the basket. Maddy finished over Joens and drew the foul. Everyone who was watching found out, yet again, who Maddy Siegrist is.

“She got after it,” Fennelly said. “So that kid, if she needs an agent, tell her to call me because I  loved her game. I loved everything about it.”

Denise T. Jones

Denise T. Jones is a passionate sports enthusiast with a knack for capturing the electrifying essence of the sporting world. As a dedicated sports news writer for AccessTV.co, Denise brings her unparalleled love for sports and her adept storytelling skills to deliver captivating and insightful content to readers worldwide. With a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of various sports disciplines, Denise ensures that her articles provide comprehensive coverage of the latest events, matches, and developments in the sports realm. Whether it's the thrill of the game-winning goal, the drama of a nail-biting finish, or the heartwarming stories of triumph against all odds, Denise encapsulates it all with eloquence and precision. Denise's journey in sports journalism has been marked by her unwavering commitment to accuracy, integrity, and excellence. Her ability to blend statistical analysis with compelling narratives sets her apart as a trusted voice in the industry. From the adrenaline-pumping action on the field to the strategic maneuvers off it, Denise brings every aspect of the sporting world to life through her writing. With a finger on the pulse of the sports scene, Denise T. Jones continues to inspire and inform readers with her dynamic and engaging sports coverage on AccessTV.co.

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