Some game weeks are like tasting a bad food. You spit it out, make a disgusted face, and you try to forget the feeling. That’s the general notion this week as the City 6 combined to go 5-6. Still, there were big performances, most notably by Drexel, Villanova, and Temple.
In this women’s college basketball notebook, we’ll look at the biggest performances and recap the week of each of the City 6 schools.
It’s true. To win basketball games, you have to score points. Mary Gedaka and Madison Siegrist average 36.9 of Villanova’s 59.2 points per game. However, the Wildcats’ defense has gone unnoticed. They have held their last six opponents to below 60 points in regulation. Gedaka and Siegrist get the publicity for their offensive work, but Bridget Herlihy, Raven James, and Cameron Onken have been the Wildcats’ best defenders. If this was football, Gedaka and Siegrist would be the quarterback and wide receiver and the other three starters would be the offensive line. Their work isn’t as flashy, but it’s imperative for the team’s success.
“They know they have to play good defense, and they take it to heart,” head coach Harry Perretta said of the three key defenders.
Herlihy guards the opposing team’s best player every night. She is capable of guarding two-through-five, Perretta said. If a point guard is the best player, then James will draw the assignment. Their defense on Penn’s elite freshman scorer, Kayla Padilla, will play a large role in who wins that game on Wednesday.
A good defensive effort wasn’t enough in the Wildcats’ 58-41 Friday afternoon loss to Butler, but it helped propel the team pass Xavier, 66-54, on Sunday. The dynamic duo’s performance was just as important this week. In the loss, Gedaka and Siegrist (11 points) scored 15 points while shooting 6-for-25, but they combined for 43 in the win. Siegrest was named the Big East Rookie of the Week after averaging 17 points and 13.5 rebounds. The offensive line did its job.
“We are very limited on offense. When [Gedaka and Seigrist] don’t score, we have a definite problem winning games,” Perretta said.
A little less than a month ago, Temple was 6-6, coming off a 26-point home loss to Florida Gulf Coast. Fast forward to today, the Owls have won four straight, and the latest two wins have come against Houston and Southern Methodist. Ashley Jones scored 23 points and made five threes in the 61-58 win at Houston. Marissa Mackins went scoreless against Houston, but she responded with a 20-point effort against SMU in an 85-62 win.
The success of the other players has been inconsistent, but one thing is for certain: Junior forward Mia Davis is a problem every night. Davis has been a vacuum on the offensive boards. She had 15 offensive rebounds last weekend. She has collected seven straight double-doubles while averaging 19.1 points and 10.9 rebounds this season.
Drexel went 2-0 this week with wins over Northeastern and Hofstra. The Dragons are now 3-1 in the Colonial Athletic Association. Here are some numbers summing up their week.
6: The number of Dragons who scored in double figures last week. Mariah Leonard was the only player to reach 10 in both games, but the multitude of options is impressive.
14: Drexel’s aggressiveness on defense has been one of its strengths. The Dragons had 14 steals in each win last week. They are tied for 21st in the country and lead the CAA with 174 steals.
193: Three-point shooting isn’t a strength. The Dragons aren’t launching them at will, but they haven’t done much with their opportunities. Drexel is shooting 30.5% from three, which is seventh in the CAA and 193rd in the nation.
Drexel has defended its court as well as any team in the CAA. The Dragons have won six in a row at the DAC and hold a 7-1 record there this season.
Penn took the court once last week, against 25th-ranked Princeton. The Quakers went into the half down by three, but Princeton pulled away in the third and fourth quarters, winning, 75-55. Freshman Kayla Padilla set a career high by pouring in 27 of Penn’s 55 points, but Princeton’s 44-25 edge on the boards was too much. Penn won’t play another home game until Feb. 7, but the Quakers will be close to home in their Big 5 matchup against Villanova on Wednesday.
Saint Joseph’s went away from the friendly confines of Hagan Arena and suffered its first two losses in Atlantic 10 play. The second quarter haunted the Hawks in their 47-40 loss to VCU. They outscored the Rams in each of the other three quarters, but shot 1-for-14 in the second. Freshman forward Gabby Smalls led the Hawks by averaging 11 points last week, despite playing about 17 minutes per game.