The Seton Hall women’s basketball team coasted by Weber State, 78-61, behind redshirt junior Bra’Shey Ali’s first career double-double.
Ali scored 14 points to go along with 17 boards in the victory while sophomore Tabatha Richardson-Smith tallied 27 points. The Pirates broke out on a 5-0 run and never relinquished the lead.
Just as the Wildcats were battling back, the Pirates exploded with a 7-0 run highlighted by a steal by senior forward Janee Johnson from Weber State’s Zakiyyah Shahid-Martin under the Wildcats basket, leading to a layup and a free throw to complete a three-point play.
Halfway through the first half, the Wildcats were only down by three, but the Pirates went on an 8-0 run and went into the break leading by 11.
Richardson-Smith put up 16 points in the second half, leading a 12-2 run for the Pirates to give them a 21-point lead with just under 17 minutes remaining in regulation. With just over 13 minutes left, the Hall broke out on another run. While Weber State was beginning to cut it into the lower double-digits, Simmons led a 10-2 run to give the Hall a 65-42 advantage with just over 11 minutes to play.
While the Pirates won handily, first-year coach Tony Bozzella saw things that need to be cleaned up.
“While a win is a win, I think we need to do a much better job of playing consistent basketball,” Bozzella said. “It’s early in the season, though, and we know we can and will be better. It’s good to be 3-0.”
It was the first time in Richardson-Smith’s career in which she scored more than 20 points in two straight games after scoring 30 at Rider on Sunday. The Pirates’ defense behind the arc was stellar, as Weber State was held to 0-12 from three-point land. The last time the Hall held an opponent to no field goals from deep was against Stony Brook on Dec. 17, 2011.
The Pirates honored the 1993-94 Sweet 16 women’s basketball team on Friday night, as head coach Phyllis Mangina and the most successful squad in program history reunited for the 20th anniversary. The Pirates finished at No. 14 in the nation that season with a 27-5 overall record and took runner-up in the BIG EAST Championship.
“It was so special to have them on the floor tonight,” Bozzella said. “They serve as a great model to the current program.”
Seton Hall takes on its first road test of the season on Sunday to face No. 21 South Carolina at 3 p.m. inside Colonial Life Arena.
“South Carolina is one of the best rebounding teams in the country, so we must be ready to box out,” guard Ka-Deidre Simmons said. “Our team chemistry is good, and I think we’ll be able to compose ourselves in a road atmosphere.”
John Fanta can be reached at email@example.com.