The Seton Hall women’s basketball team completes a two- game road swing on Saturday evening as the Pirates visit red-hot DePaul.
Momentum is with head coach Tony Bozzella’s team as The Hall comes off a 72-71 victory over Georgetown on Wednesday, which was the first win for the Pirates in Washington, D.C. The Blue Demons will come refreshed with just a one-game week as they also come in with momentum, riding an eight-game winning-streak. It was a game that saw the Hoyas lead by 13 with just 10 minutes to play, yet Seton Hall did not go away as senior forward Janee Johnson scored 12 points to go along with 10 re- bounds. Junior forward Bra’Shey Ali knocked in two buckets in the final minute, including the eventual game-winner with 10 seconds to play.
With the tight victory, the blue and white notched their fourth Big East road win of the season, giving the program the most conference road victories in a season since the 2002-03 campaign.
The Pirates seek revenge against a DePaul squad that won inside Walsh Gymnasium on Jan. 18, 75-68. Although junior point guard Ka-Deidre Simmons totaled 20 points, DePaul came out rolling in the second half from the perimeter, hitting eight of its 11 first 3-point attempts.
The Blue Demons are powered by frontcourt star Jasmine Penny. The senior forward, who has been named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll two weeks in a row, has scored over 20 points in seven of the Blue Demons’ 12 conference contests this season.
In Sunday’s 80-66 victory over the Creighton Bluejays, Penny had 21 points and 9 rebounds in a game that saw the Blue Demons finish the first half on a 22-5 run.
Another reason for DePaul’s eight-game surge, which is the longest Big East winning streak in the program’s history, is the league’s Preseason Player of the Year, Brittany Hrynko.
The junior had the hot hand on Jan. 14 against the Pirates, nailing four 3-pointers and finishing with 16 on the game. Classmate and fellow guard Megan Rogowski combines to form a balanced backcourt for DePaul. Rogowski comes off a 16-point performance in the Blue Demons’ win over Creighton on Sunday and had three treys versus the Pirates in the two teams’ first meeting of the season. Hyrnko and Rogowski were just a part of a night that saw DePaul knock down 12 triples inside Walsh Gym.
The key to watch heading into this game is tempo. DePaul plays at a slower pace, as Bozzella’s fast-paced style relies on turning stops into buckets. Following the Jan. 14 loss to the Blue Demons, Bozzella said, “They were simply deeper and tougher than us.”
The Pirates have to find more than just Simmons, sophomore wing Tabatha Richardson-Smith, and Ali if they are going to win this game. The Blue Demons’ perimeter defense has been men- acing, holding Creighton to an 0-for-10 mark from 3-point range on Sunday and holding the Pirates to just 4-of-19 beyond the arc in January.
Tip-off is set for 5 p.m. on Saturday in Chicago.
John Fanta can be reached at email@example.com.