The Seton Hall women’s basketball team came out with a 77-49 win over in-state rival Rutgers in a packed Walsh Gym on Monday night.
Before the game began, the team took time to unveil two new banners in Walsh celebrating last season’s postseason accomplishments—one for winning the Big East regular season title, and one for an NCAA tournament bid.
Tiffany Jones was a key component in the Pirate’s win, as she earned herself a double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Monday was also her second career game with 20 or more points. Along with Jones, Tabatha Richardson-Smith, who was just one rebound away from a double-double, Aleesha Powell and Shakena Richardson all scored in double digits.
After the game, head coach Tony Bozzella spoke highly of his team.
“Obviously we played well. I’m very proud of the young ladies. We came out with a sense of urgency, especially on the defensive end. We had an understanding that we were going to play our way.
“I told them that we’re going to play the Seton Hall way tonight and that’s the best thing about playing so early on in the year,” he added. “You play your way and if it doesn’t work you fix it.”
Senior Rachel Hollivay of Rutgers showed she was a threat to the Pirates early on, as she went 3-for-3 from the field and grabbed four rebounds in the first quarter alone. She finished the game with 13 points, eight rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
Although Hollivay tested the Pirates and Rutgers outshot Seton Hall from the field, the Pirates kept the lead for the entire first half.
Richardson-Smith’s 10 points and Jones’ 15 and four rebounds helped in keeping the edge over Rutgers in the first half.
Rutgers caught up to the Hall with the help of a 12-0 run to end the half just four points behind the Hall at 32-28.
“They didn’t show fear, even when Rutgers made a great run at the end of the first half because coach Bozzella didn’t want to use his second timeout,” Bozzella said.
Richardson-Smith opened up the third quarter with a deep three to bring the Pirates’ lead up, while Jones was the next to score, pushing the lead to nine.
“Those first two baskets to start the second half were huge,” Bozzella said.
The next two quarters were all Seton Hall, as the Pirates led by 31 at one point in the fourth quarter.
Lubirdia Gordon showed improvement, as she left the game with five rebounds and six points.
“Her numbers weren’t great but she had a huge presence in the paint today,” Bozzella said. “She was big and when they drove she was there.”
Seton Hall is set to take on Princeton on Thursday in Walsh Gym at 7 p.m. The Tigers went undefeated for the entirety of last year’s regular season and have won their last two games by double digits.
“It’s going to be a big challenge for us, they’re a very good team,” Bozzella said. “I told our girls, if we play the way we’re capable of, we can compete with almost anyone.”
Olivia Mulvihill can be reached at email@example.com or on twitter @OliviaMulvihill