Coming off an impressive 72-60 victory over Marquette on Friday night at the Walsh Gymnasium, where the duo of Alexis Lewis and Shadeen Samuels combined to score 45 points, the Seton Hall Pirates (15-9, 8-5 Big East) women’s basketball team returned to action at home taking on a potent DePaul (22-3, 12-1 Big East) team that was ranked 14th in the country and averaging near 85 points per game.
Early on both teams kept on trading baskets, but the headline story would be the play from DePaul Chante Stonewall erupting for 11 points in the first quarter, including knocking down four trifectas as the Blue Demons led 27-21 at the end of the quarter. In the second quarter, the Pirates responded with a 5-0 run trimming the deficit to 32-28 with seven minutes remaining.
However, there was no cooling off DePaul from beyond the arc, burying three more triples to push the advantage to 46-38 with less than two minutes left. Meanwhile Stonewall continued to dominate tallying 13 more points on 10 of 14 shooting from the field as the Blue Demons carried a 50-40 lead into the locker room.
DePaul shot a sizzling 55 percent from the field while leading in rebounds 25-10, forcing 9 Pirates turnovers that led to 19-12 in points off turnovers and 8-1 in second chance points. Seton Hall held a 11-8 advantage in fast break points.
Finishing up with 7 points in the first half, Pirates freshman guard, Mya Jackson, caught fire in the third quarter netting five quick points in the first 47 seconds. Netting nine points at halftime, Shadeen Samuels scored nine points in the third including a lay-up with four minutes to go that gave Seton Hall the lead at 57-56 and for the first time since the first quarter. The back and forth action ensued as DePaul answered back with an 8-4 run to close out the quarter.
With Samuels exiting the contest with her fourth foul with less than nine minutes to go, the Pirates refused to throw in the white towel as Alexis canned a trey to make it 69-66 with eight and minutes to go on the clock. Jasmine Smith made it a one-point game at 72-71 on a fast break lay-up with six-minutes remaining. Just when it appeared Seton Hall was poised for a big run, the Blue Demons dashed those hopes draining back-to-back three’s to extend the margin. In the end DePaul hit five out of six free throws to seal the 86-76 victory.
Mya Jackson delivered a game high 19 points, Samuels added 18 points and Desiree Elmore contributed 13 points and team high 7 rebounds. For DePaul Stonewall led five players in double figures with 29 points and 10 rebounds. The Pirates won the fast break points 26-7 and bench points 26-7 while the Blue Demons held the points in paint 34-32, points off turnovers 28-20 and second chance points 16-1.
Seton Hall Head Coach Anthony Bozzella on the loss, “I thought our kids played with a lot of heart and toughness. It was hard coming off a physical game on Friday and what makes our league so tough. Mya (Jackson) is a tremendous player, competitor and prepares herself and those things are really important. You have to give DePaul credit, we cut it to one and our crowd was great, and we just could not get over the hump. We cut it to one and had a late chance. We get them to miss, they get a rebound and hit a big three after that.”
“We have to figure out how to win some games. We’re a good team and proud of the girls for never giving up and coming back. Coming out for the third quarter we scored seven straight points and we’re back in the game. A tremendous crowd, credit to our school and our kids. We play an exciting style, come out and play hard. It was packed and the program is in good shape as it has ever been because we have good players and kids. We compete and it wasn’t like that when we took over.”
Alexis Lewis getting her fourth foul in the first half, “I thought the turning point was Shadeen’s fourth foul. A really tough call and we were basically winning the game whenever she was in and now, she is out and hurts a lot. We’re up three and when comes back in we are down seven.”
“I’m not upset with the three-point defense, they were 12 of 37 rather than 9 of 20. We went zone and got them out of rhythm and they only go 5 for 20 in the second half and still not enough. The problem is we got outrebounded 47-24 and two measly offensive rebounds all game and can’t happen and just very frustrating. We were right there and so close. You have to rebound the ball and try to emphasize that. It’s not because we were too small or big. They had the tenacity to go after the rebound and is incredible.”
“We have to bounce back and play like we did with the same intensity and toughness. We played great at times today, they are 22-3 and 14th in the country. This is not a sub team and you are playing one of the best teams in the country, well-coached and tough. We have to do a better job of boxing out, going after the ball and being aggressive.”
Now the Pirates hit the road for the next three games, starting on Friday at Providence (10-14, 1-11 Big East) with an 11:30 a.m. tip-off and then flying out to Nebraska to take on Creighton (15-8, 7-5 Big East) on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Back on January 19th Seton Hall crushed the Friars 97-55.
“We have a tough game at Providence on Friday and at Creighton on Sunday and have to win those games,” said Bozzella. “If we win those games, we give ourselves a chance to finish in second. If we lose those games, we give ourselves a chance to finish in seventh and what makes this league so tough.”