The women’s basketball team topped Big East foe Xavier, 72-62, on Tuesday night.
After winning three of their last four games, the Pirates have improved to 3-3 in the conference and 12-5 overall.
Seton Hall’s explosive forward Tabatha Richardson-Smith, who went into the game as the second-leading scorer in the Big East, led the way with 23 points. With her performance, Rich- arson-Smith became the conference’s leading scorer.
The standout sophomore wasn’t alone on her big night.
Point guard Ka-Deidre Simmons, who was recently honored as the Big East player of the week, scored 17 points on 7-14 shooting while dishing out nine assists against Xavier.
Bra’Shey Ali (10 points, 15 rebounds) and Janee Johnson (13 points, 8 rebounds) were dominant in the paint, combining for 23 points and 23 boards on about 56 percent from the field.
After beating Georgetown 73-62 on Saturday, Richardson-Smith talked about the rise in scoring production from her teammates.
“I feel like that’s going to help us,” she said.
“If everybody is scoring in double figures, we’re going to win.”
Simmons also credited her teammates for feeding her in the second half on Saturday despite her early shooting struggles against the Hoyas, and it paid off Tuesday night against Xavier.
As a team, Seton Hall hit over 46 percent of their shots from be- yond the 3-point arc.
In addition, SHU held the Musketeers to under 38 percent shooting from the field and forced 21 turnovers.
Ashley Wanninger carried Xavier with 16 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists, but got help from Shatyra Hawkes (12 points, 5 boards) and Jenna Crittendon (11 points, 7 rebounds).
The Musketeers held a five -point lead with little over five minutes remaining in the contest, but Simmons-as she’s done all season-righted the ship.
Three straight buckets from the team’s point guard and floor general sparked a late run by the Hall, and they eventually extended the lead to 10 points to finish the game.
Seton Hall will travel to Rhode Island to take on the Providence Friars on Saturday.
They will be looking for their third consecutive conference road win.
After this weekend, the Pirates will host Creighton and St. John’s at home in the Walsh Gym and will be looking to build off two big wins headed into remainder of Big East play.
Tom Duffy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.