Villanova forward Maddy Siegrist remembered being nearly speechless as a freshman when she met her school's former all-time leading scorer. Shelly Pennefather, who played from 1983 to 1987, has been a cloistered nun since 1991 and goes by the name of Sister Rose Marie.
"I'm not sure I said more than a couple words," Siegrist said Saturday. "I was all nervous because you hear so much about her -- not just as a great player but an even greater person. She's like a saint. She said to me, 'Why don't you go break every record?' I was almost in shock."
On Saturday, Siegrist scored 50 points -- the most this season in Division I women's or men's basketball -- on 20-of-26 shooting from the field in a 99-65 victory over the Seton Hall Pirates. Siegrist set the single-game Big East scoring record and she's also now the career scoring leader in Big East games (1,550 points).
The 6-foot-2 senior forward is leading Division I women in scoring (29.1 points per game) this season while shooting 53.6%. Earlier this season, she became Villanova's career scoring leader and Saturday she also set the program's single-game record. Both marks previously belonged to Pennefather. Siegrist now has 2,571 points in her Villanova career.
"She's such a kind person, and was so normal to talk to, just joking about classes and basketball," Siegrist said of meeting with Pennefather. "I was just listening to every word. She talked about the records so humbly and so casually. She said, 'Go get the record. I've got everything I need here.'"
Siegrist passed the Boston College Eagles' Sarah Behn, who played from 1989 to 1993 and had 1,546 points, for the league career record. Siegrist's 20 made field goals is also a Big East record, passing the 19 by Kathy Finn of the Providence Friars, set Feb. 11, 1984, against the Syracuse Orange.
Siegrist said the most points she had scored before was 45 while in high school. Saturday, she said she didn't quite feel it was going to be a special day until the second half, when after making a contested fadeaway, "I thought, 'Well, maybe it's working for me. Maybe I'm getting a little bit going.'"
Siegrist played 32 minutes and was 4 of 6 from 3-point range and 6 of 8 from the foul line. She added 10 rebounds -- her 13th double-double of the season -- and had two assists and two steals. No. 15 Villanova moved to 22-4 overall and 13-2 in the Big East.
Siegrist was projected as the No. 11 pick by the Dallas Wings in ESPN's most recent WNBA mock draft. She said she will wait until after the season to decide if she will declare for the draft or return for a fifth season because of the COVID-19 waiver.
"Right now, I'm just trying to make I go into every game giving everything I've got," Siegrist said.