Seton Hall came up with a big out of conference win against the Illinois Fighting Illini on Tuesday at home in the Walsh Gym by an 82-72 final.
Amanda Boyer/Photography Editor
Four out of five starters for the Hall scored in double digits against the Illini. Bra’Shey Ali with 10, Daisha Simmons with 12, Ka-Deidre Simmons with 15, and Tabitha Richardson-Smith with a team-high 38 points.
“We raised our level to our opponent tonight especially because it was a very good team,” head coach Tony Bozzella said. “We played very unselfish and as a team it was tremendous. I was really proud of the kids for that.”
Defensively, the Pirates came ready to play. They forced over nine turnovers early on in the game as they lead the Illini 20-15 in the tenth minute of the first half.
The Pirates took control of the game early, keeping their lead in-tact until the fourth minute of the first half. The Pirates didn’t stay down for long. Richardson-Smith put up 10 points just in the last two minutes of the half. The Pirates entered halftime sitting at a 43-35 lead.
Richardson-Smith took charge all over the court for the Pirates tonight.
“She had seven steals tonight and three defensive rebounds, those things are important,” Bozzella said. “The 38 points is great and everyone is going to be talking about that but what I like is the amount of steals and defensive rebounds. It was very effective and very good.”
Another defensive leader for the Pirates in tonight’s game was Chizoba Ekedigwe. “Her stat line doesn’t measure how good of a game she really had,” Bozzella said. One point, three blocks and five rebounds doesn’t measure how good a game she really had.”
Illinois got into foul trouble late in the game with starting guard Brittany Carter fouling out and adding to their 10 total fouls of the night.
With .17 left in the game, Ka-Deidre Simmons took to the free throw line, making two shots and advancing the pirates to a 12 point lead until the Illini scored on a final drive, ending the game.
The Pirates finished with 30 points in the paint and finished with a shooting percentage of 44.3 percent from the field.
Coach Bozzella was impressed overall with the performance of his team. “If they want to keep the goal of winning a championship, then they’re going to have a great chance,” Bozzella said. “If they don’t keep that goal-we’re an average team. They did this all with finals tomorrow and our girls still found a way to win the game.”
The Pirates will be back in action next Thursday December 18th where they will look to advance their 9-1 record when they take on Fairfield. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m.
Olivia Mulvihill can be reached at Olivia.email@example.com