She went on to become the school’s all-time scoring leader and is recognized as one of the greatest scorers in NCAA history, ranking 20th all-time (2,896).
Siegrist also just finished her rookie season with the WNBA’s Dallas Wings.
In February she’ll be back in Dallas for AU Pro Basketball’s third season, making her first appearance in the annual four-week campaign.
“I think networking is super important and I loved that it was in the U.S.,” Siegrist said. “And I think the [four] weeks is a good amount of time, you get a lot of games in but you’re not killing your body.”
Highly recruited out of Our Lady of Lourdes High School in Poughkeepsie, New York, Siegrist was ready to embark on a college career after closing her high school career averaging 32.7 points and 13.1 rebounds per game, earning her Poughkeepsie Journal Player of the Year for a second straight year.
Despite her accomplishments, she was second-guessing her hype.
“I remember I wasn’t even sure if Villanova was too high of a school for me,” she admits.
But a broken ankle set things back, and she was forced to redshirt her freshman season.
Tooling around on a steerable knee walker, Siegrist remembers being told she was going to have to learn to become a shooter once she arrived in Philadelphia. She never had to shoot from 3-point range in high school and remembers making “10 or 12” from beyond the arc.
Knowing it was unlikely the opposition would step out to guard her in college, the goal was to sharpen her skills from long range.
What else was she going to do, she thought. So she began shooting 500 3-pointers on one foot, daily, her scooter bracing as she got better and better.
“I decided I was going to do everything I could to become a good shooter because I know I’m capable of it,” Siegrist said. “And for me, I’ve only always found confidence in repetition. So I was like, this is something I can control.”
Healed for her redshirt freshman season, Siegrist shot 6.2 treys per game, hitting 2.0 per contest for a 32.5% clip.
She finished her career hitting 34.7% from 3-point range, taking 5.1 shots each game.
“Looking at the way the game is now, so 3-point oriented, and … to see you have fives now that are stepping back and they’re shooting 40% from 3, I think you have to be able to shoot the ball,” she said. “For my game, it’s essential to be able to knock down a couple of 3s.”
Siegrist didn’t take many during her rookie season in Dallas. But she still finished her first professional season with an effective field-goal percentage of .531, tied with Candace Parker for 36th best in the WNBA among players who played at least 8.2 minutes per game.
Not bad company.
After what she called a “great learning experience” with the Wings, making the playoffs and playing alongside one of the WNBA’s most selfless teams — the Wings ranked fifth with 20.3 assists per game — she’s ready to manifest her lessons and grow from them in time for her sophomore year in Dallas.
“I was fortunate I had a lot of veterans around me to look up to and to strive for, so that was really cool,” Siegrist said. “Just to have five players that are a threat on the floor at all times, I think was huge for us. I think that helped us be so successful and we’d sub in and you wouldn’t lose anything. So just that constant attack mode type mentality, I think our team definitely had that.”
Siegrist said she also learned plenty by going heads up with whom she felt was the toughest player she faced, reigning MVP Breanna Stewart. Like late in the season, when the New York Liberty were in Dallas and Stewart seemed unstoppable with 30 points when Wings coach Latricia Trammell asked her team during a timeout who wanted to guard one of the most dominant players in the league.
“I was like, ‘I’ll take a crack at it,'” Siegrist said. “You just try to slow her down at that point, there’s no stopping her. That’s just the player I’ve always admired.”
Stewart finished with 40 that night. Siegrist finished the game with a higher IQ.
In the playoffs, Siegrist said she enjoyed watching Atlanta Dream star Rhyne Howard.
“I would see the way to get to your spots and get a shot off so quickly,” Siegrist said. “I was like, ‘Wow, this is something.’ I was overly impressed.”
And, shortly after being eliminated from the playoffs by eventual champion Las Vegas, Siegrist received an official invite to participate in the 2024 AU Pro Basketball season.
After speaking with AU Hoops alum Kalani Brown, Veronica Burton and Odyssey Sims, all three encouraging she participate, Siegrist and her agent decided it was the right fit for her offseason.
“I think confidence is so important as an athlete and coming off a rookie season, whatever you can do to help yourself continue to build your confidence is key,” Siegrist said. “You got to be efficient at whatever you do. If you’re getting three shots, you have to be efficient. If you’re doing 15 shots, you’re getting 25 shots — you have to be efficient. So I think it’s really cool that (AU) works like that.”
Inevitably, regardless of the obstacles Siegrist faces or challenges she takes on, she’ll always find the positive from a broken ankle in her freshman year.
“I’ve always prided myself on being efficient, but the biggest thing (I take from Villanova) was definitely getting hurt my first year and being able to overcome that and just knowing that you overcome that and you can overcome any obstacle that comes your way.”
W.G. Ramirez is a 36-year veteran sports reporter in Southern Nevada, serving as a correspondent for Athletes Unlimited. Follow him on Twitter at @WillieGRamirez
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