It was a tale of two halves inside Walsh Gymnasium on Saturday. An 11-point halftime lead for Seton Hall was erased, as was the Pirates’ unbeaten home record.
Guard Taylor Schippers scored 15 of her 17 points in the second half to charge Butler past SHU, 75-69. The Bulldogs outscored the Pirates 51-34 in the second half, while shooting a whopping 70% in the second stanza.
While it was known that the Bulldogs could stroke it from deep, the Pirates did not show any issues defending Butler throughout a good portion of the first 20 minutes.
The two teams played pretty evenly for the first ten minutes of the first half, until Seton Hall sophomore forward Tabatha Richardson-Smith led a breakout by the Pirates. After taking their first lead of the game, the Hall used two straight three-balls by Richardson-Smith to grab a 21-15 advantage over the Bulldogs. With another triple by Richardson-Smith with 5:47 left to play in the first half, SHU took a 26-17 lead to complete an 11-2 run.
A drive by Seton Hall junior guard Alexis Brown with just over a minute left to play in the first half gave the blue and white a seven-point lead. The Pirates took a 35-24 advantage heading into the break, after forcing 12 turnovers and scoring 13 fast break points to Butler’s four.
The Bulldogs, who came in at 6-7, opened the second half with a complete opposite result from the way they closed out the first stanza. Butler rolled out to an 11-2 run to cut the blue and white’s lead to just 37-35 with 17:01 left to play in regulation. Following a timeout by head coach Tony Bozzella, his Pirates went on a 6-0 run to take a 43-35 advantage. The Bulldogs went out on another 11-2 run to then take a 46-45 lead with just over 12 minutes to play. Just like that, Butler’s 11-point halftime deficit was gone as Taylor Schippers knocked down a three to give her 12 points for Butler. Then, Daress McClung continued her hot streak with a triple to make it a 49-45 Butler lead.
The Pirates were outscored by 15 in the first 8:58 of the second half, but would not lie down on their home court. After two Bra’Shey Ali free throws, the Hall forced a turnover and junior guard Ka-Deidre Simmons finished with a lay-in to make it a 51-51 game with 8:57 to play inside Walsh.
Butler kept on attack, though, as a lay-up by Ijeoma Uchendu pushed Butler’s lead to its largest of the game at that point, 58-53. Taylor Schippers hit on her third triple to give Butler an eight-point lead with under six minutes to play, resulting in a Bozzella timeout.
Seton Hall tried to put up one last fight, as Brown drilled a 15-footer to get the Pirates within six with 2:46 remaining. But, it would not be enough in the end. Butler would follow with the next four points, as Seton Hall missed out on numerous opportunities near the rim. Free throws would wrap it up as the Bulldogs sealed up what was their second win in the Big East.
The Pirates drop to 9-4 with the loss and ready for a tough trip to Marquette on Wednesday night. The tip-off will be at 8 p.m.
John Fanta can be reached at email@example.com.