Having won two of their last three games, Seton Hall is aiming for post-season play to change the culture of complacency
SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – Trailing by one at the break, Seton Hall women took command the final ten minutes to post an 82-72 victory over Providence College. The game at Walsh Gym on Tuesday saw the Hall improve to 6-8 in conference while the Friars fell to 1-13.
A faster paced tempo at 80 possessions, Seton Hall showed above average numbers both offensively and on defense in the efficiency metric. Providence did a good job drawing fouls. In the second half they were shooting 1-and-1 with 13:37 to go. To their credit, Seton Hall still defended and did not let the early bonus situation change their defensive approach down the stretch. The Hall used some three quarter court pressure and zone in half court on defense.
Providence’s ability to get to the line was offset by Seton Hall’s command on the boards and the turnovers. They turned the Friars over while taking care of the ball on their end.
Alexis Harris of Providence led all scorers with 26 points. Ka-Deidre Simmons (18) and Alexis Brown (17) set the scoring pace for Seton Hall.
“The first half we did a good job but did not take care of the ball the second half,” Providence coach Susan Robinson Fruchtl said. “Seton Hall played good defense but a number of our turnovers were unforced.”
Robinson Fruchtl pointed out lack of depth has severely hindered her club. Seven players were available. Three logged 36 or more minutes. The depth was more pronounced in the second half and led to disparities in offensive rebounding and turnovers.
The “new” Big East
The Providence coach, in her second year at the school, commented on the realigned Big East.
“I love it,” she said. “The league is competitive top to bottom and most of our (Providence) games have been decided by 10 points or less. It’s just very competitive night in and night out.”
Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzella was pleased with the guard play. Moving Alexis Brown to the point and Ka-Deidre Simmons to the two significantly helped the offense. Bozzella’s goal was 15 assists as a team. They got 16 against 12 turnovers.
“Brown did a good job and hurt us,” Robinson Fruchtl said. “She penetrated and got to the line (hitting 7 of 10).”
Bozzella noted the 5-foot-8 junior is more comfortable this season.
“She is coming into her own the way we play,” he said. “She is not a great shooter so last year in the system she stood around a lot. We spread the floor and she has been able to use her skills. She has really benefited from our style.”
Bozzella also singled out the work of Tara Inman. The freshman guard did not score in 13 minutes, yet contributed a great deal.
“Tara was tremendous,” Bozzella said. “She busted her butt and her defense was great. She did what we wanted her to do and found a way to help us win.”
Bozzella keeps preaching the concept of playing meaningful games in February. The goal: a post season bid come March. He noted how his teams gets over losing a lot easier.
“I am not used to losing streaks,” the coach said. “These kids in the past have been through losing streaks, they just get right back to practice and work.”
In a sense, they are resilient, and can bounce back. What Bozzella is changing is the ‘sin’ of complacency, not allowing them to accept a losing streak as a regular occurrence.
With a 15-10 overall record, there is something tangible to shoot for as the calendar welcomes the month of March.