The Seton Hall women’s basketball team (20-2, 9-1), ranked 24th in the nation by USA Today, will host the Providence Friars on Friday at 8 p.m. in a game that will be nationally televised on Fox Sports 1.
The Pirates are coming off of a nail-biting victory over Big East rival St. Johns on Sunday, Feb. 1 where after allowing the Red Storm to roar back from a 24-point deficit and cut the lead to two with two minutes left, Daisha Simmons and Ka-Deidre Simmons helped carry Seton Hall to its seventh straight win, 78-73.
“We understand that it is a 40 minute game,” head coach Tony Bozzella said. “They’re going to make their runs and we’re going to make our runs. We’re a much more mature, poised team than we were at the beginning of the year, that’s for sure.”
At 9-1 in conference play, Seton Hall stands atop in the Big East. DePaul is a half-game behind, but the Pirates disposed of the Blue Demons with a 107-87 win on Jan. 18.
As Seton Hall continues to garner national attention, it seems that opponents are coming into each game with a bit of extra incentive.
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“Anytime you’re in first—and when you have a national ranking next to your name—you automatically get that target (on your back),” Bozzella said.
Hosting Providence will likely be no different. The Friars, though they’re 2-9 in the Big East and losers of their last three, put up a serious fight on Jan. 11 when Seton Hall gutted out a 68-67 victory. It was one of just five times this year that the Hall’s high-octane offense has scored less than 70 points.
“We realize that we have to play our best every game to have a chance to win,” Bozzella said. “We don’t have a large margin of error to not play well. And that says so much about our record. We’re not just way better than everybody else, we have to play better. And we have…This is clearly a game where we’ll have to play to our level. If we do, we’ll have a chance to be successful.”
One of the greatest things about the team’s phenomenal season has been the fan support at Walsh Gym. This year’s squad has tied the franchise record for fastest to 20 wins, a height reached in back-to-back seasons for just the second time ever.
This team is the real deal—and the fan base has reflected that. Sunday’s game against St. John’s was a true sellout.
“Great crowd,” Bozzella said emphatically. “It wasn’t a sellout because the other team brought fans, it was our sellout, with our fans. This was a true home game. It says so much for our fans, how great they are. And we hope for our last four games they’ll support us the same way.”
Tickets are free for Friday’s battle against Providence for students with a SHU ID. Students that dress in summer clothes will receive a complimentary Seton Hall Survival Kit—water, sunglasses, free food and a foam finger.
“We play an exciting brand of ball and we’re good,” Bozzella said. “People want to come see a winner, and they want to come see good people. That’s what we have here.”
After playing Providence, Seton Hall will host Creighton on Sunday, Feb. 8 before hitting the road for a huge showdown with DePaul on Feb. 13.
Tip-off for Friday with Providence is slated for 8 p.m. inside Walsh Gymnasium.