Pirates prevail in win against Marquette on Friday night, 72-60Date: February 8, 2020
By: Heaven Hill
After a furious comeback and a game winner against the Villanova Wildcats on Sunday, the Pirates came out Friday and got a little revenge, upsetting the Golden Eagles 72-60, moving to 15-8 and 8-4 in conference play.
The last time these teams faced off this season was during Seton Hall’s grueling yearly Midwest road trip, just days after the Pirates were battered against the No.15 ranked DePaul Blue Demons. The Hall had a five-point lead after the first quarter in that matchup, but it was downhill after that as they were outscored by 26 over the remaining periods. Safe to say, the Pirates were looking to enact some retribution in this one.
This game began with an interesting wrinkle, as Barbara Johnson was scratched from the starting lineup with an illness. Nonetheless, the Pirates, specifically Alexis Lewis, started out on fire as she canned three shots from behind the arc in the first five minutes of the quarter. Even defensively, Seton Hall came out firing, forcing six turnovers in the opening period, including two on the leading dimer in the BIG East, Selena Lott. Lewis had three steals of her own as the Pirates went on an 8-2 run to close the quarter with a 22-14 lead.
Now in the last matchup, Seton Hall had a lead after one quarter, before being outscored 19-10 in the second. Here was the Pirates’ chance at redemption after the disappointing loss the last time, and head coach Tony Bozzella and his squad delivered. They came out with a sense of urgency, going on a 13-4 run to open the quarter.
Whether it was Shadeen Samuels forcing another turnover on Lott for an easy bucket, or Lauren Park-Lane picking the pocket of Claire Kaifes for another easy layup, or even Mya Jackson continuing her sniper ways from beyond the arc, the Pirates made play after play as the lead ballooned to 17.
Lewis continued her hot shooting with a contested pull-up midrange jumper and a corner three as she had a remarkable 18 points in the first half. Seton Hall entered the locker room with a 15-point advantage, outscoring the Golden Eagles 18-11 in the second period. This was clearly a changed Pirates team from the one that was essentially embarrassed at the Al McGuire Center less than a month ago, and this was more like the team that was projected to finish third in the BIG East.
The third quarter featured some of Marquette’s best attempts at a comeback, as they outscored the Pirates 20-15 in the period. Lewis was still unstoppable from all three levels, adding another long ball and a floater to reach 23 points on the night, but Lauren Van Kleunen for the Golden Eagles had her way in the paint as she added 11 points and four rebounds with ease.
Despite the strong quarter for Marquette, they only cut the deficit down to 10. Credit to Coach Bozzella for his adjustments in this quarter, withstanding Marquette’s best shot and managing to maintain a double-digit lead as the Pirates entered the final period.
The fourth quarter was probably one of the best quarters for the Pirates this season, in all honesty. Against a Marquette team projected as a ninth seed currently in the NCAA women’s tournament, who outscored them by 10 points in the final quarter of the last matchup, the Hall played phenomenal basketball to close out the game. In the third quarter, the Golden Eagles had two total turnovers.
In the fourth, however, the Pirates forced six turnovers and went on an 8-0 run, after their lead was cut to single digits twice in the quarter. Although the Pirates only outscored them by two points in the final period, they hung tough with a great squad and picked up a huge victory, proving to themselves and everyone else that they belong in the upper echelon of the BIG East.
Alexis Lewis finished with 28 points and six threes in an amazing game from start to finish. Selena Lott of the Golden Eagles, who came into Friday leading the BIG East in assists, had zero in that column, along with four turnovers in a shocking performance.
Finally, Shadeen Samuels, after being held to six points the last time these teams battled, finished with 18 points this time around. The Pirates move to 15-8, with a marquee faceoff against DePaul on Sunday. With Jose Feliciano and Madi Travisano on the call, it’s sure to be a great contest.
Heaven Hill can be reached at email@example.com.