Due to pauses and postponements for COVID-19 issues, City Six women’s basketball coaches aren’t taking any games for granted. This weekend (knock on wood) could be the first that all five teams playing this season will be in action. The Penn women are not competing due to the pandemic.
- Women’s City Six notebook: St. Joseph’s showcasing more offensive weapons, Drexel transfer cleared to play by NCAA
- Women’s City Six Notebook: Familiar coaches Denise Dillon and Amy Mallon set to duel for first time at the Pavilion
- Women’s City Six notebook: Villanova’s Maddy Siegrist picks up where she left off, and players are emerging for La Salle and Drexel
When teams play Temple, they know forward Mia Davis is scoring option No. 1. Sporting an average of 21.5 points per game, she’s been one of the best players in the American Athletic Conference.
That emphasis on Davis means more Owls need to step up, and that has happened during the team’s current three-game winning streak. Guards Jasha Clinton and Asonah Alexander combined for 17 assists in Wednesday’s 66-57 win over East Carolina.
Guard Emani Mayo has made threes in five of six games, and she’s 5-for-12 in her last two games after starting the season 3-for-11. Her growth as a three-point shooter makes it hard for teams to double Davis, and so does forward Alexa Williamson’s scoring. Williamson had 19 points in 19 minutes against ECU.
“Four of the eight [women] that play for us have been thrown in the fire, and they’ve handled themselves really well,” head coach Tonya Cardoza said.
The win against ECU came after a COVID pause, during which the Owls (3-3, 3-0 AAC) were able to do skill work only. Temple is one of three remaining unbeaten teams in the AAC. The Owls will face one of those teams, UCF, at home on Saturday.
One thing that didn’t change at Drexel during the coaching transition is the attention to detail on defense. Amy Mallon played a large role in the defensive performance as an assistant with Denise Dillon, and that’s even more evident now with Mallon as head coach.
The Dragons (4-1, 2-0 CAA) are ranked second in the nation in points allowed per game (48.8). North Carolina Wilmington is the only opponent to score more than 50 points in a game, and Drexel followed that up by holding the Seahawks to a season-low 34 points the next day.
It looks like Drexel will enjoy the CAA’s new conference scheduling. Teams will play back-to-back games on Saturdays and Sundays for the most part, barring changes. The Dragons’ ability to make adjustments was evident. In the first two games against UNCW, Drexel cut down its turnovers, points allowed, and opponent free throw attempts.
The Dragons had 13 steals in the second game against the Seahawks. One goal of the zone defense is to cause disruption, which starts with senior guard Hannah Nihill. She was one of four Dragons who had two or more steals.
“We played back-to-back games at Wilmington, and she’s on the floor pressuring whoever their ball handler is the entire game,” Mallon said. “She sets that tone.”
The last time St. Joseph’s played a basketball game, the Eagles won an NFL football game, and the Sixers were playing preseason NBA games.
St. Joe’s (2-0) returned to practice from its COVID pause on Monday. Head coach Cindy Griffin said that the team has done a lot of scrimmaging in practices to get as close to game speed as possible. Simulating game speed and being in basketball shape after a 25-day layoff is a difficult task.
“We need to get them conditioning,” Griffin said. “You really have to put the ball in their hands so they’re making decisions when they’re tired, when they have to think, and when they have to execute.” .
St. Joe’s opponent on Saturday will be La Salle. The Explorers swept last season’s two meetings for the first time in school history.
Claire Jacobs earned Big Five player of the week honors last week, becoming the first Explorer to win it this season. She leads the Explorers withan average of 15.0 points per game and poured in a season-high 26 in a win over Coppin State.
The Explorers (3-5, 0-2 A-10) have lost their last two games, and the Hawks have lost the last two meetings with LaSalle. One of those streaks will end on Saturday.
Villanova was back in the win column after losses to UConn and Depaul. The Wildcats defeated Seton Hall, 78-71, Wednesday.
Maddy Siegrist, Brianna Herlihy, and Sarah Mortensen combined for 57 of the 78 points. That’s hardly a surprise, but a bench contribution was. Freshman Taliyah Medina had a breakout performance with 11 points. She scored three points total in her previous five appearances.