Women’s basketball prepares for games against Hofstra and Wake Forest this week
Coming off a highly successful trip to the Virgin Islands, the Seton Hall women’s basketball team returns to the tri-state area Thursday night to face the Hofstra Pride on the road, followed by a Sunday afternoon tilt against ACC foe Wake Forest.
The Pirates (5-2) are coming off a 2-1 showing in the Paradise Jam over the Thanksgiving weekend, defeating Louisiana Tech and Old Dominion while falling in overtime to Alabama.
Seton Hall head coach Anne Donovan spoke highly of the team’s performance in St. Thomas.
“We felt like it went really well,” Donovan said. “We still had some injuries we were trying to heal up, so playing with only seven players, mostly, I feel good about how we did. There was the Alabama game that we felt like we should have won, so we’re not completely satisfied, but we feel pretty happy about how we played.”
Coach Donovan also praised the team’s effort so far this season.
“There’s not a player out there that isn’t giving everything they’ve got,” Donovan said. “And that’s definitely been a huge contributor to our success so far.”
Hofstra won 19 games last season, including a 76-65 win over the Pirates at Walsh Gymnasium. So far this year, Hofstra is 4-1 including wins over St. John’s and Kansas State. They are scoring 81 points per game as a team.
The Pride are led by Chante Evans, a 6-foot junior forward who averages 17 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, as well as 5-foot-11 sophomore guard Katelyn Loper, who is scoring 16 points per game while shooting 36 percent from three point range. Evans is a player Donovan remembers from last season’s contest.
“Last year, they had our number,” Donovan recalled. “Every one of our post players was in foul trouble against [Evans]. They play a different style than we do, so it’s a bit of a challenge for us. We’re hoping this year we can be a little more disciplined in how we defend.”
Following the game against the Pride, the Pirates return home on Sunday afternoon to face the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, who also have a 4-1 record so far this year.
Like Hofstra, the Demon Deacons have a high-powered offense, scoring nearly 83 points per game, but unlike Hofstra, they have a balanced offensive attack with four players averaging over nine points per contest.
They are led in both scoring and rebounding by 6-foot senior forward Secily Ray at 10.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
“[Wake Forest] is a little intimidating because you can’t shut down one player or two players,” Donovan said. “There are more players they can go to for scoring.”
Despite the great offensive attacks of both Hofstra and Wake Forest, Donovan said the confidence the team has is high coming into the games this weekend.
“We have a couple players coming back [from injury], so we feel like with more bodies on the floor we can extend our defense a little more,” Donovan said. “With both teams, I feel like we’re in a good position to play Seton Hall basketball, and see what they can do against us.”
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. on Thursday night at Hofstra, while the game against Wake Forest is set for 2 p.m. on Sunday in Walsh Gymnasium.
Jason Guerette can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.