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Women’s City Six Notebook: Familiar coaches Denise Dillon and Amy Mallon set to duel for first time at the Pavilion

Last week, La Salle was building momentum after two wins. This week, it’s the opposite.

Denise Dillon, shown here coaching Drexel, is in her first season at Villanova.
Denise Dillon, shown here coaching Drexel, is in her first season at Villanova.Read moreAP file photo

The 2020-21 women’s college basketball season is still early and fluid. While Villanova has played more games than any other City 6 school (five), St. Joseph’s hasn’t suited up.

The fluidity means we know more about some school than others, but each week, we learn more. Here is this week’s edition of the City Six women’s notebook.

Former teammates collide

Former Villanova coach Harry Perretta and former Drexel coach Denise Dillon, now the head coach at Villanova, didn’t like playing one another because of their ties from when Dillon was a Villanova assistant.

Now, Dillon may feel the same way about her former assistant, Amy Mallon.

Drexel and Villanova play Sunday. Dillon coached Drexel for 17 seasons, and Mallon, now the Drexel head coach, was an assistant during the last 16 of those.

”The emotions of Amy being my best friend and the success we had building a basketball program together, of course that comes into play,” Dillon said. ”It’s about the players and Villanova players being prepared. I know Drexel players will be just as prepared.”

Dillon and Mallon have cheered each other on this season. Neither has missed the other’s team play live, so they know what to expect.

”Another team can know what you’re doing, but it’s still how you do it,” Mallon said. “You do it the right way, you can still be successful.”

Villanova’s 5-0 start has been sparked by the emergence of Sarah Mortensen and Brianna Herlihy. Both players are complimenting Maddy Siegrist, who continues to look like one of the Big East’s biggest stars. She’s averaging 25.2 points and 12 rebounds. Siegrist had a season-high 31 points and five assists against La Salle on Wednesday

”It’d be nice if we could add a few more players on the court at the same time” to defend her, Mallon said. “She’s never going to take a break, so you can’t either.”

Drexel added a 61-50 win against Monmouth last Saturday. Hannah Nihill showed that her 22-point scoring outburst in the season opener was not fluke. She had 18 points, four rebounds and four assists.

Dillon watched Nihilll at Drexel for three seasons. What the senior is doing is not much of a surprise to her.

”She is by far the most competitive player that I’ve ever coached, and it’s showing even more now on the floor,” Dillon said.

St. Joe’s schedule update

St. Joseph’s is healthy again, and it’s first game is on deck. The Hawks play Division II Lincoln (Pa.) on Sunday afternoon. A quick turnaround contest against Monmouth is scheduled for Tuesday, but that game is in question after Monmouth had a Tier 1 personnel member test positive for COVID-19.

If that game is postponed, next Saturday against La Salle would be St. Joe’s next scheduled contest after Lincoln.

La Salle blows 23-point lead

Last week, La Salle was building momentum after two wins. This week, it’s the opposite.

A 78-52 loss to Villanova on Wednesday was the starter, but even that game wasn’t as bad as Friday night. The Explorers blew a 23-point lead against Howard in a 75-72 loss.

Claire Jacobs knocked down a three-pointer in the third quarter to make it a 54-31 game with 7 minutes, 51 seconds to play. Howard then attacked and lived at the free throw line as the Explorers’ offense stalled down the stretch.

Temple missing transfers

Temple has started its season 0-2 after losses to Villanova and Florida Gulf Coast.

The 78-69 loss against Florida Gulf Coast shows the impact of the transfers Temple lost. Double-digit scorers Marissa Mackins and Ashley Jones transferred out. Mia Davis is still dominant. She scored 34 points, but no other Owl reached double figures.