Women's College Basketball

NCAA Women’s Basketball: Villanova’s Siegrist Named BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Player of the Year


Villanova’s Siegrist Named BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Player of the Year
Maddy Siegrist becomes the first Wildcat to garner the league’s top honor since Shelly Pennefather in 1987.

NEW YORK – On the eve of the 2022 BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Tournament presented by JEEP, the Conference announced its annual regular-season awards. Villanova’s Maddy Siegrist was voted BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Player of the Year, becoming the first Wildcat since Shelly Pennefather in 1987 to garner the recognition. Villanova’s Denise Dillon was named BIG EAST Coach of the Year, while DePaul’s Aneesah Morrow was the unanimous pick for BIG EAST Freshman of the Year. Major awards and All-BIG EAST Teams were selected by a vote of the league’s head coaches who were not allowed to vote for themselves or their own players.

Additional major award winners include: BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year Nika Mühl of Connecticut; Co-Most Improved Players Lior Garzon of Villanova and Lauren Jensen of Creighton; Morgan Maly of Creighton as Sixth-Woman of the Year; and Marquette’s Chloe Marotta as the Sportsmanship Award winner. A 10-member All-BIG EAST First Team, a five-member Second Team, two Honorable Mentions and a five-member All-Freshman Team were also selected.

After missing six games due to injury between November and December, Siegrist has been magnificent since she returned. The junior forward snapped the BIG EAST scoring record, averaging 27.9 points over 17 league games to break the record of 26.6 points per game which had been on the books since 1991-92 (Sarah Behn, Boston College). Siegrist eclipsed the 30-point mark a league-high nine times this season, and is tied for the conference lead with 18 20-point games. She also finished regular-season play ranked second in the BIG EAST in rebounding with 9.9 boards per game. Siegrist’s overall season scoring average of 26.5 points per game ranks No. 2 nationally.  She was also a unanimous All-BIG EAST First Team selection.

Morrow singlehandedly rewrote the BIG EAST record book during her first season at DePaul. The freshman forward broke conference standards for single-game rebounding (27), total rebounds (305), rebounding average (15.3), freshman scoring (469 and 23.5 ppg) and most BIG EAST Freshman of the Week honors (13). Morrow is the national leader in double-doubles (26), rebounds per game (14.0), total rebounds (434), offensive rebounds (5.9) and field goals made (267). Morrow is the nation’s top-scoring freshman at 21.5 points per game. She becomes DePaul’s first BIG EAST Freshman of the Year.

In just her second season on the sidelines at her alma mater, Dillon led the Wildcats to a 21-7 overall mark and 15-4 BIG EAST record to finish second in the standings. VU was picked to finish fifth in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Villanova has won 18 of its last 20 games entering the postseason, and collected notable wins all along the way, including dealing UConn its first conference loss since 2013. Dillon’s honor marks the fifth time a Wildcat mentor has collected BIG EAST Coach of the Year recognition and first since Harry Perretta earned the accolade in 2018.

Mühl is the vocal leader of the stingy Connecticut defense which leads the BIG EAST by allowing just 55.4 points per game, including 50.8 against conference foes. Over 17 BIG EAST contests, the sophomore guard ranks third in the league with 2.2 steals per game, sparking a UConn squad which leads the conference with 11.0 thefts per contest. The Mühl-led defense forces nearly 18 turnovers per game to boast a +4.59 turnover margin. Mühl is the second straight Husky to garner BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year honors after Olivia Nelson-Ododa was recognized a season ago. She is the sixth UConn player in league history to earn the award.

After spending her freshman campaign at Iowa, Jensen transferred to Creighton for 2021-22 and more than quadrupled her minutes and increased her scoring by more than 11 points per game. The sophomore guard averaged 13.9 points in BIG EAST play and averages 12.3 overall, following a rookie season where she scored just 1.3 points in 7.0 minutes per game. Over 20 league contests, Jensen ranks second in the BIG EAST with a .445 3-point percentage, while her 3.1 made triples per game is tops in the league. Jensen is the third Bluejay to earn the recognition and first since Brianna Rollerson in 2017. Jensen was also named to the All-BIG EAST Second Team.

Garzon went from key reserve to top starter in one season’s time at Villanova. The sophomore forward came off the bench in all but one game last year while starting all 26 games she’s appeared in during the 2021-22 campaign. Garzon upped her scoring average from 8.8 per game to 14.0, while seeing her minutes improve from 20.9 to 30.0. Garzon is the third Wildcat to earn Most Improved Player honors and first since Laura Kurz in 2009. Garzon was also named to the All-BIG EAST Second Team.

Maly came off the bench in all but one game this year and ranks third on Creighton in scoring at 12.1 points, including 12.2 in BIG EAST play. Her 2.6 made threes per game in BIG EAST play ranks third in the conference. Maly’s numbers are particularly impressive given she only averages 20.8 minutes per game. She has led Creighton in scoring six times. She is Creighton’s first BIG EAST Sixth-Woman Award recipient.

Marotta has been a leader for Marquette both on and off the court. She serves as the president of Marquette’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). Marotta will graduate in May with a dual major in Journalism and Public Relations, and will then begin graduate school with dual enrollment to earn master’s degrees in both business and law. She has logged countless hours of community service in and around the Milwaukee community, volunteering with groups such as the Interchange Food Pantry, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Milwaukee Neighborhood House, the MU Backpack Program, Scouting & Scavenging and the Neighborhood Kitchen. A Milwaukee-area native herself, Marotta has given back to the area’s youth by being a part of free basketball clinics for youth and by reading to kids in local schools, as well as participating in Milwaukee’s PEARLS program, a group which helps to guide and empower teenage girls. On the court, Marotta has started all 29 games for Marquette, averaging 5.8 points and a team-high 7.1 rebounds.

Siegrist and Morrow were two of five unanimous All-BIG EAST First Team selections along with UConn senior guard Christyn Williams, DePaul senior guard Sonya Morris and Seton Hall junior guard Lauren Park-Lane. Williams leads the Huskies with a 14.9 scoring average, while Morris ranks second on the Blue Demons with an 18.0 clip. Park-Lane is the BIG EAST’s assists leader at 7.5 per contest, and broke the single-season record for dimes with 152 over 20 league games.

Additional All-BIG EAST First Team honorees include Creighton’s leading scorer Emma Ronsiek (15.0 ppg), St. John’s leading scorer Leilani Correa (17.6 ppg), the BIG EAST blocks leader out of UConn Olivia Nelson Ododa (1.9 bpg) and Seton Hall’s top rebounder in Sidney Cooks (7.8 rpg).

Jensen and Garzon were joined on the five-member All-BIG EAST Second Team by UConn freshman guard Caroline Ducharme, DePaul senior guard Lexi Held and Seton Hall graduate student guard/forward Andra Espinoza-Hunter. DePaul graduate student guard Deja Church and Providence junior guard Janai Crooms were voted All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention.

The five-member BIG EAST All-Freshman Team were all selected unanimously, with Morrow joined by Ducharme, UConn guard Azzi Fudd, Providence guard Kylee Sheppard and Villanova guard Lucy Olsen.

BIG EAST Player of the Year
Maddy Siegrist, Villanova, Jr., F

BIG EAST Freshman of the Year
Aneesah Morrow, DePaul, Fr., F*

BIG EAST Coach of the Year
Denise Dillon, Villanova

BIG EAST Defensi­­­ve Player of the Year
Nika Mühl, Connecticut, So., G

BIG EAST Co-Most Improved Players
Lauren Jensen, Creighton, So., G
Lior Garzon, Villanova, So., F

BIG EAST Sixth-Woman Award
Morgan Maly, Creighton, So., G/F

BIG EAST Sportsmanship Award
Chloe Marotta, Marquette, Sr., F

BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete of the Year^
Ayanna Townsend, Xavier, R-Jr., F

All-BIG EAST First Team
Olivia Nelson-Ododa, Connecticut, Sr., F
Christyn Williams, Connecticut, Sr., G*
Emma Ronsiek, Creighton, So., F
Sonya Morris, DePaul, Sr., G*
Aneesah Morrow, DePaul, Fr., F*
Lauren Van Kleunen, Marquette, Grad., F
Leilani Correa, St. John’s, Jr., G
Lauren Park-Lane, Seton Hall, Jr., G*
Sidney Cooks, Seton Hall, R-Sr., F/C
Maddy Siegrist, Villanova, Jr., F*

All-BIG EAST Second Team
Caroline Ducharme, Connecticut, Fr., G
Lauren Jensen, Creighton, So., G
Lexi Held, DePaul, Sr., G
Andra Espinoza-Hunter, Seton Hall, Grad., G/F
Lior Garzon, Villanova, So., F

All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention
Deja Church, DePaul, Grad., G
Janai Crooms, Providence, Jr., G

BIG EAST All-Freshman Team
Caroline Ducharme, Connecticut, Fr., G*
Azzi Fudd, Connecticut, Fr., G*
Aneesah Morrow, DePaul, Fr., F*
Kylee Sheppard, Providence, Fr., G*
Lucy Olsen, Villanova, Fr., G*

*unanimous selection
^selected by the BIG EAST Academic Awards Selection Committee; announced on 3/2/22

Recommended for you