Seton Hall beat in-state rival Saint Peter’s 81-65 at home on Sunday, thus concluding the team’s out of conference schedule.
The Pirates opened up with a lead, but a 7-0 run for the Peacocks gave them a 17-14 edge over the Pirates in the first quarter. A quick layup from Aleesha Powell and a made free throw from Taylor Byrne tied the game at 17 heading into the second quarter. It was then that the Pirates were able to take control as an 8-0 run gave them a 10-point lead over the Peacocks at one point. SHU went into halftime with a 44-36 lead.
Head Coach Tony Bozzella was unimpressed with the way in which the team handled its defense in the first half.
“We lead the Big East in field-goal defense and we’re second in points allowed, and today we played like we’ve never played defense before in the first half and that was very frustrating,” he said. “We have to do a better job of focusing ourselves no matter who our opponent is and play defense the way we’re capable of playing.”
First half leaders for the Pirates included Shakena Richardson with 11 points, Aleesha Powell with 15 points and Tabatha Richardson-Smith with eight rebounds.
Despite coming out of the first half on top of the Peacocks, Bozzella and his team were not pleased with their performance.
“I don’t think we came to play the first half,” center Lubirdia Gordon said. “During halftime he (Bozzella) said we had to get it together and stop the ball; we were letting them score the ball too easily.”
The Pirates’ struggles eased in the second half and they kept a double-digit lead over the Peacocks for the remainder of the game.
Richardson-Smith, who did not have a large scoring presence in the first half, earned a double-double in third quarter. She finished the day with 14 points and led the team in rebounds with 12.
“I tell Tab a lot to believe she’s the best player on the court but play like it and have an effort like it,” Bozzella said.
Gordon ended the day with 11 points and eight boards, Powell led the team in scoring with 17 points, and Richardson had 15 points and eight assists.
The Pirates will be back in action when they open Big East play at Providence College on Dec. 29 at 1 p.m.
Olivia Mulvihill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @OliviaMulvihill.