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Women’s City Six notebook: Villanova’s Maddy Siegrist picks up where she left off, and players are emerging for La Salle and Drexel

Three of the City Six programs have played games, and two more will be debuting in the next 10 days.

Villanova's Maddy Siegrist (20) is off to a hot start.
Villanova's Maddy Siegrist (20) is off to a hot start.Read moreELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer

Welcome to the first edition of this season’s City Six women’s basketball notebook. Each week we’ll look at the impressive performances and recap games from each program.

The 2020-21 basketball season is unlike any other, and it won’t include coach Mike McLaughlin’s talented squad at Penn because the Ivy League is not playing winter sports during the coronavirus pandemic.

The other five schools have either started or are preparing to play by Dec. 13. With each day, things could change, but here is where each school stands now.

Maddy Siegrist is picking up where she left off

Surprise, surprise. Maddy Siegrist is off to a hot start this season. She scored 28 points and had 10 rebounds in Villanova’s 70-37 win over Rider in the opener. She added another 25 points and 10 rebounds in a 63-60 win over Quinnipiac last Sunday.

There was some sarcasm intended in that first statement, but it is somewhat surprising considering that most schools know who Siegrist is now, and they know she’ll be featured offensively.

“Maddy’s a real tough matchup because of her speed and versatility,” Villanova coach Denise Dillon said. “Maddy just has the mindset to do any and every thing the team needs.”

Lior Garzon, Brianna Herlihy, and Sarah Mortensen have joined Siegrist in reaching double figures in at least one of the two games. A nightly second scorer will play a big role in Villanova’s final record.

Villanova’s biggest test yet is Friday against Temple.

New scorers emerging for Drexel

Bailey Greenberg is gone, so that means a big chunk of scoring must be replaced. It’s hard to replace someone of Greenberg’s caliber with one player, so it’ll be a team effort.

Drexel won its first game, 62-49, over Rider, and senior Hannah Nihill scored a career high 22 points. Keishana Washington is the leading returner scorer, and she added 12 points.

“[Hannah’s] playing like every practice and every game is her last one,” coach Amy Mallon said. “I don’t think she did anything in that game that she isn’t capable of doing.”

Drexel’s defense is its calling card. Rider got good offensive looks early, but the Dragons held the Broncs to one of eight shooting in the fourth quarter. Mallon said that she is “happy” with the overall effort defensively.

La Salle exemplifying team ball through two games

Coach Mountain MacGillivray almost sounded surprised when he heard it. Ten La Salle players scored in Wednesday’s 64-46 win over Monmouth. If it’s up to MacGillivray, that’ll be the theme this season.

The Explorers lost their first game, 95-66, to Towson, and nine players scored in double figures then, too. Towson shot at least 50% in each quarter. So defensively there is much to gain after losing the program’s all-time leading shot blocker, Shalina Miller.

Newcomers have made an impact early. Freshman guard Jaye Haynes was touted by MacGillivray for her scoring, and she had 16 points against Towson. Transfer Molly Masciantonio scored 14 points and made three three-pointers againstMonmouth.

“[Molly] did a really good job all preseason putting herself in position to get some major minutes,” MacGillivray said. “I expect big things all season from her.”

Temple opening season against Villanova

Temple is set to open its season Friday against Villanova. The Owls won last season’s matchup, but this year’s squad will look much different. Two of last season’s top three scorers, Ashley Jones and Marissa Mackins, transferred.

That leaves Mia Davis to pick up an even bigger load than last season. Davis averaged 18.8 points and 10.2 rebounds last season. She’ll be challenged right away. Villanova will match her up against Brianna Herlihy.

St. Joseph’s relying on leadership until first game

St. Joseph’s isn’t scheduled to play until Dec. 13 after announcing a 14-day pause on Nov. 21 due to COVID-19 issues. The layoff has put the Hawks behind, but head coach Cindy Griffin is relying on her leadership.

This year’s roster has three graduate students and two seniors. Junior and last year’s leading scorer Katie Jekot will also have a leadership role. The team can begin practicing together again on Friday.

“I’m relying on that maturity,” Griffin said. “They know what they can and can’t do. Having upperclassman and fifth-year seniors has been really beneficial.”