After three games, there’s no sign of a sophomore slump for Maddy Siegrist.
The 6’1 forward has upped her game in year two for Villanova after being named the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year last season. Siegrist is averaging 25.3 points and 10.7 rebounds, leading the Wildcats to a 3-0 start and earning the conference’s player of the week honors.
With wins over Rider, Quinnipiac and Temple, the competition will get a little bit stiffer as Villanova begins their BIG EAST schedule against St. John's on Sunday at Carnescca Arena in New York.
If recent history is any indication, there won’t be much separating these two teams. They were in lockstep last season. Both their games went to overtime (Villanova won them both) and they finished with identical 11-7 conference records (Villanova was 18-13 overall, St. John’s was 19-12).
But according to preseason predictions, St. John’s has the edge this season. The conference media day poll had the Red Storm projected to finish fourth, a few spots ahead of the Wildcats in seventh. Sunday will mark the first true test for St. John’s after two blowout wins to open their season against Fairleigh Dickinson and Saint Francis.
Leilani Correa, a 6’0 guard, leads St. John's with 17.5 points per game this year. Last year, she won BIG EAST Sixth-Woman Award in her freshman season, averaging 12.8 points per game in 25 minutes. She’s capable of huge offensive outbursts. Correa had three, 30-point games last year. With more minutes, her productivity should only increase.
Correa was supposed to be joined in the backcourt by fellow Preseason All-BIG EAST member, Qadashah Hoppie, but Hoppie has yet to make an appearance this season. St. John’s coach John Tartamella did not comment on her availability to reporter Jaden Daly on December 1st.
Aside from her scoring (she led the team with 15.4 points per game last year), Hoppie provides valuable experience as one of only two seniors on the roster for the Red Storm.
If Hoppie is not available, look for Raevyn Peeples, Kadaja Bailey and Unique Drake to fill in the scoring load.
However, the most important task for the Red Storm is slowing down Siegrist who has shown the ability to score from anywhere on the floor. The Wildcats also feature two double-digit scorers in Sarah Mortensen, Brianna Herlihy and senior point guard Raven James.