Mark down another win over an elite New Jersey program for Tony Bozzella and the Pirates.
Seton Hall, coming off a blowout victory against Rutgers on Monday, put an end to Princeton’s 32-regular season game winning streak on Thursday night, knocking out the No. 24 team in the nation, 71-64. The result pushes the Hall to 3-0 on the season and gives the squad two wins over 2015 NCAA Tournament teams this year.
“I thought that was one of the most physical, hard-fought games we’ve played in a long time,” Bozzella said. “I said to my team in the first media (timeout), ‘This is going to be a game for, ya know, not the meek and if you’re going to be meek you’re going to get hurt. You’re going to get shoved all over the place.’”
Shoved the Pirates were not.
Playing in front of a packed Walsh Gymnasium crowd, the Pirates never trailed. Tabatha Richardson-Smith said the SHU faithful did not go unnoticed.
“Oh damn, the crowd – our fans are amazing,” the forward said of those in attendance. “We wouldn’t be here winning games without our fans. Our crowd helps us stay in it and when things get tough… our crowd stands behind us.”
Richardson-Smith was key in the win. The Bay City, Texas native led all scorers with 15 points while grabbing eight boards in addition to two steals. Tiffany Jones was right behind her, scoring 14. Meanwhile guards Aleesha Powell, Shakena Richardson and Jordan Mosely combined for 31 points, with Richardson dishing out a game-high seven assists. The grad student had a few plays worthy of a Vine, including a crossover that sent her defender to the floor.
On the other side, the Tigers’ Alex Wheatley recorded a double-double, tallying 14 points and 12 rebounds. Vanessa Smith, Amanda Berntsen and Michelle Miller also scored in double figures for Princeton.
With two impressive wins and perfect record on the young season, Bozzella and his team could be thinking about a Top 25 ranking come next week. Instead, the focus is on Saint Joseph’s, whom the Halls plays on the road on Saturday at 2 p.m.
“I have no idea,” Bozzella said when asked about a national ranking. “I’m thinking that’s (Saint Joe’s) going to be a hard game. They’ve only played one game, they’re very well-rested, in their gym, they’re very well-coached and we’re going to have to play really well.”
Gary Phillips can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @GPhillips2727.