Pirates use Lewis' 24 points to stop Vanderbilt, 69-65, in the Junkanoo JamDate: November 30, 2019
By: Heaven Hill
After heading into the fourth quarter facing a six-point deficit, the Seton Hall Pirates rallied to defeat the rugged Vanderbilt Commodores 69-65, securing a third place finish in the Junkanoo Division of the Junkanoo Jam.
Getting pummeled by Georgia Tech on Thanksgiving served as a shock to the system of Coach Bozzella’s squad for sure. The Hall came out the gate in this one and set the tone offensively, putting up 21 points in the first quarter against a top-40 scoring defense in Vanderbilt.
Alexis Lewis, who had 14 points in total against the Yellow Jackets, had 11 points in the first quarter, coming out firing. Barbara Johnson, who had six points on Thursday, had four points in the first period as well. It was clear that the Pirates were not trying to leave Bimini without a win, and their important scorers came out to send a message.
For the Commodores, it was Mariella Fasoula who started off dominant for them. Undoubtedly the best player for the Black and Gold after making the All-SEC second team and the Lisa Leslie Award watch list, she was at the top of the scouting report for Seton Hall and Fasoula demonstrated why in the first quarter. She racked up 11 points and five rebounds to keep the game close for Vandy, who entered the second period down five.
In the second quarter, both teams’ offenses cooled down somewhat. Alexia Allesch scored a bucket and snagged a steal and a rebound before checking out at the four-minute mark, making use of her increased time in the rotation with Shadeen Samuels’ injury. Lewis continued her strong play, stuffing the stat sheet on both ends. She had two assists, a block, a steal and a pivotal three pointer late in the second quarter, pushing the lead to five points for the Pirates at halftime.
After halftime, it appeared that Seton Hall left their offense and defense in the locker room, as they only scored 12 points on 36% from the field in the period, while giving up 23 points and 18 points in the paint as well. Desiree Elmore started to get going, and her and Fasoula began to trade bucket, with Fasoula entering the fourth with 19 points and 11 rebounds and Elmore putting up 10 points of her own.
Seton Hall freshman McKenna Hofschild she played well garnering two steals and four points in her limited minutes. Unfortunately for the Pirates, they entered the fourth quarter down 54-48 after a buzzer beating three pointer from Vanderbilt’s Jordyn Cambridge.
The Hall entered the fourth quarter, staring down the barrel of a three-game losing streak and a winless trip to the Bahamas, and they proceeded to play one of their best quarters of the season. The offense was rolling and the defense was dominant, and the Pirates needed every stop. The dynamic duo of Lewis and Elmore started off hot, scoring every point of a 7-0 run to reclaim the lead.
Hofschild got important burn down the stretch and made huge plays, with a jumper to give Seton Hall a 57-55 lead, then an assist on a Mya Jackson three to tie it again at 60-all. The Hall scored five more points after that three, a jumper from Elmore and another three from Lewis, and they never relinquished the lead again, capping off an important run to close out the game.
The final result was Seton Hall winning a nail biter over the Commodores, with Lewis filling up the box score with 24 points, eight rebounds and six stocks in a dominant performance. Elmore finished with 15 points and Jackson added 11 points off the bench, finding her shooting stroke again. The Pirates now return to Walsh Gymnasium next Thursday, for an enormous non-conference matchup against the perennial powerhouse UConn Huskies. The Pirates hope to start another win streak and shock the world in their next outing.
Heaven Hill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.