Women set for Big East tourney
The women’s basketball team will play the No. 10 seeded Villanova Wildcats in the opening round of the women’s Big East Championship on Friday.
The Pirates (8-22, 1-15 Big East) are coming off an unsuccessful late-game comeback attempt Monday night against No. 16 Louisville at Walsh Gymnasium.
Seton Hall erased an 18-point, second half deficit to cut the Louisville lead to six with 41 seconds remaining after freshman guard Alexis Brown banked home a running jump shot.
Brown forced a turnover, but on the inbound, sophomore guard Jazzmine Johnson turned the ball over, and all hopes of a comeback vanished.
“I wish I could have gotten more shots to fall,” senior guard Jasmine Crew, who was honored in the pregame senior night ceremony said. “I wish we could have gotten the win, but all you can do is go out and play as hard as you can.”
Crew scored 20 points, shooting 7-of-26, in her last home game as a Pirate.
She was named to this week’s Big East Honor Roll after averaging 19.7 and three assists in the team’s final three regular season games.
“We were just hoping we could continue to make things happen, knowing that we were in an uphill battle,” head coach Anne Donovan said. “It was nice to see us fight and get back into position to try and steal the game.”
In Seton Hall’s last meeting with the Wildcats on Jan. 31, Villanova won, 62-53. Crew scored 17 second-half points in the game, including eight straight with under five minutes remaining to bring the Pirates to within seven.
The Wildcats (16-13, 6-10) enter the tournament coming off a 68-60 home victory over Syracuse on Monday.
Donovan said she is confident about the Pirates’ chances in the tournament because of the team’s defensive presence.
“I would not want to play us in the Big East tournament,” Donovan said. “Defensively, we can guard people, and we can mix our defenses enough that we keep offenses off balanced for the most part.”
Seton Hall is currently ranked No. 14 in the conference in defensive points, allowing 62.8 points per game.
However, the Pirates have allowed over 60 points only four times in their last eight games, dating back to their matchup with Villanova.
Crew said the key to winning their first game and making a run in the tournament is playing hard for the entire game.
“(We need to) have a lot of intensity for 40 minutes,” Crew said. “Be smart, focused and communicate on defense. If we can do those things and play better offense and knock down more shots, then we can win some games.”
The Pirates are 1-1 all time against Villanova in the tournament, but have not played the Wildcats in the postseason since 1995.
“We will definitely be looking forward to that first game,” Donovan said.
The game will be played at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn., with tip-off set for 6 p.m.
The winner will play the No. 7 seed, Louisville on Saturday.
T.J. Brennan can be reached at Thomas.firstname.lastname@example.org