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VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) — Maddy Siegrist became the fifth women’s player in NCAA history to score 1,000 points in a season and the first-team AP All-American had 35 points to lead fourth-seeded Villanova into the NCAA Tournament’s second round with a 76-59 win Saturday over Cleveland State.
The Wildcats (29-6) will play No. 12-seed Florida Gulf Coast (33-3) on Monday for the right to advance to the Sweet 16. The Eagles topped Washington State 74-63 in Saturday’s first game.
Villanova’s 29 wins this season tie the 1981-82 team for most in program history.
The two-time Big East Player of the Year, Siegrist got hot early and reached her milestone 1,000th-point bucket in style. Siegrist followed her shot after she missed a jumper from the elbow, crashed the boards and stripped the ball from a Cleveland State defender that had grabbed the rebound. She tossed up a fadeaway and banked in the bucket.
She pounded her fist in the air looking for the and-1 and got it. Siegrist sank the free throw for point No. 1,001 in the 2022-2023 season and gave Villanova a 34-16 lead.
Villanova fell just shy of a sellout at the Pavilion but more than 6,000 fans roared for Siegrist — whose No. 20 jerseys sold in the team store for $120 a pop — on the bucket. When the 1,000-point milestone was announced to the crowd later in the game, she received a standing ovation. She finished 15 of 28 from the field.
Yes, Siegrist at one point had 31 points while the Vikings (30-5) scored just 32. But this was no one-scorer’s show for the Wildcats. In fact, the Pavilion was never at its loudest than when Bella Runyan buried a 3 for a 37-15 lead and she went into a timeout with her signature braided ponytail bouncing behind her.
Destiny Leo scored 25 points for the Horizon League Tournament champion Vikings.
Cleveland State: The Vikings played in their first NCAA Tournament since 2010 and fell to 0-3 overall in the tourney. They also lost in 2009. But Cleveland State had never played higher than a 15 seed in March Madness.
Villanova: Coach Denise Dillon improved to 2-2 in the NCAA Tournament and led the Wildcats to their 23rd home win in their last 25 games. The Wildcats are 32-7 at home in three seasons under Dillon.