Maddy Siegrist didn’t become a record-setting student-athlete without some sacrifice.
Despite spending each summer with her family in Breezy Point, she doesn’t just pass the days relaxing on the beach — she also spends time refining her basketball craft.
This season, Siegrist, a senior forward on the Villanova University women’s basketball team, broke the school’s all-time scoring record. She was named Big East Player of the Year for the second straight year and now has more points than any men’s or women’s player in Villanova Wildcats history.
Siegrist’s family has spent their summers in Breezy Point since she was born. The family attends Blessed Trinity Parish and enjoys the tight-knit community down on the peninsula.
“We always stay the whole summer, which is super fun,” said Siegrist. “I’ll always cherish going out and playing with all the kids on the block.”
Siegrist grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York, playing every single sport imaginable. Upon entering Our Lady of Lourdes H.S., she decided to focus on basketball since she liked the team aspect of the game but also that she could practice alone to get better.
That, of course, included her time in Breezy Point, where she joined the Breezy Hoops League and improved her game through morning drills and workouts before the weather got too hot. That’s what it takes to be a Division I student-athlete, and the hard work undoubtedly paid off.
When she arrived on campus as a freshman, Siegrist could not have predicted she’d eventually break the school’s scoring record. All she wanted to do was have a positive impact on the Wildcats, a storied Big East Conference program.
“I was really committed to getting better at something each day,” said Siegrist, who averaged an impressive 29.0 points and 9.1 rebounds per game as a senior. “Each year, I tried to add an aspect to my game, realizing that it was going to take a lot of hard work. You don’t become a great shooter overnight, and you don’t become stronger overnight. I had to be patient.”
After redshirting her first year, Siegrist was able to graduate in 3.5 years with a degree in communications and is currently working on a master’s degree in education. In her four years on the court, she has avoided major injury, which has allowed her to develop the consistency to amass enough points to break the scoring record.
Heading into her senior year, Siegrist knew there was a possibility that she’d at least come close to the record, given that she was also the fastest player in program history to reach the 1,000-point club — as a sophomore and in just 50 career games. Yet, she did not let those thoughts consume her.
“I was aware of it, but it was never something I gave much thought to,” she said. “I know when you get hung up on stuff like that, you’re not going to play your best basketball or be the best teammate you can be. I tried not to focus on it too much, which allowed me to just play the best I could.
“I had the mentality that if I was supposed to get it, I’d get it, and if not, then it wasn’t meant to be. That really helped me not worry about it.”
Against rival Creighton University on Jan. 20, Siegrist was on the cusp of history. Midway through the fourth quarter, and having just tied the points record at 2,408, she put up a fadeaway jumper over a defender. The result: nothing but net for the new record.
During the next timeout, the Creighton announcers recognized the feat, and Siegrist’s teammates mobbed her with excitement. Afterward, she received the game ball as a memento.
With March Madness now here, Siegrist hopes to guide the Wildcats deep into the NCAA Tournament. She also aspires to turn pro, but one thing at a time — first up is going dancing!
Throughout her journey, Siegrist has relied on her Catholic faith. She tries to attend daily Mass at Villanova as much as possible since it keeps her grounded and helps her deal with the adversity of being a high-level student-athlete and the team’s standout performer.
“My faith has grown during my time in college,” said Siegrist. “It’s always something I’ve leaned on in my career. When success comes or when failure comes, give it all to God. That was instilled in me at a young age.
“Basketball is a game. You try to do the best you can, but ultimately God and your family — those are the things that are most important.”
Contact Jim Mancari via email at email@example.com.