The women’s basketball team’s season has come to a close, but not before laying down another stepping stone in the rebuilding of the program.
The Pirates won their first game in the Big East Championship since 2009, defeating Cincinnati 60-55 in the first round before losing in the second round to St. John’s, 51-45.
Head coach Anne Donovan said she felt that the tournament win was just one of the stepping stones in rebuilding the program.
“For us, this year and every year, we’ve been taking the next step,” Donovan said. “You don’t turn a program around overnight. Every year we’ve been looking to take the next step, and this year we’ve been able to do that.”
Seton Hall finished the season with a record of 11-20 and a Big East record of 5-11, the best Big East record since the 2008-09 season. The Pirates’ biggest win of the season was a 45-42 victory over in-state rival Rutgers at Walsh Gymnasium on Jan. 27.
“It is an in-state rivalry and that’s always huge when you can beat a team that is in your state,” Morris said. “As they are well respected, we are trying to gain that same respect and once we beat them that was like the icing on the cake that showed that we could compete.”
In her final year on the team, Morris broke a number of Seton Hall records, including both the single season and career records for made 3-pointers.
She drained 73 3-pointers this season, while finishing her career with 173.
Sophomore Ka-Deidre Simmons also had a good season after coming back from her ACL injury, which caused her to redshirt in 2012. She finished 10th in program history in single-season assists and steals with 119 assists and 62 steals.
In her final year, senior walk-on Breanna Jones helped the team down the stretch on the glass, proving to be a crucial aspect to their tournament victory, grabbing nine boards, six of those coming on the offensive glass.
Donovan said she loved her work ethic throughout her time with the Pirates and thought she was the hardest working player on the team.
“She’s just a kid who started as a practice player for us,” Donovan said. “Her work ethic is second to no one in the scholarship.”
In her final year as head coach of the Pirates, Donovan said she was impressed by the way the players bought into her system and felt that the program would continue to improve from here.
“To look around in the locker room and to see all of the young women that worked so hard for these three years, it was them that turned the program around,” Donovan said. “It wasn’t me, it was the young women who bought into a coach who came in pretty hard on them and they just bought into it and worked every day to be better and better themselves as a team.”
Donovan said she was pleased with the way the team performed this season, noting her problems with scheduling in the beginning of the season.
“I’ve said all along that I did not do a very good job with our schedule,” Donovan said. “If you look at the Big East I was the idiot who scheduled teams that I should not have been scheduling throughout our non-conference play. And I think that as a result of that we struggled with our confidence.”
Donovan will not return next season, as she signed a contract to coach the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun.
Brandon Biskobing can be reached at Brandon.firstname.lastname@example.org.