With non-conference play complete, the Seton Hall women’s basketball started Big East play with a 64-54 win against the Providence Friars on Tuesday afternoon.
While the Pirates entered the matchup with a 10-1 non-conference record – placing them first in the Big East – the Friars entered in last place with a 4-6 non-conference record.
The disparity may have been large, but Providence rose to the occasion against the Hall with a 5-0 lead to start the game. The Pirates answered quickly though, putting up a 10-0 run in response. Both teams finished the quarter even at 12.
The Pirates struggled from the field – especially from three – and it was seen early. There was a stretch to finish the first quarter that consisted of four consecutive Seton Hall possessions and zero points scored.
Seton Hall then answered by building a 25-12 lead off drives, mid-range jumpers and free throws, holding the Friars scoreless through the first seven minutes of the second quarter.
The Friars then fought back with an 8-0 run of their own off two quick threes from Jovana Nogic.
Richardson then followed a steal and assisted to Tabatha Richardson-Smith to end the quarter, giving the Hall a 29-20 lead at the half.
Seton Hall built this lead with no help the three ball, as the team combined to go 0-11 from beyond the arc in the first half.
The Pirates would ultimately go 0-13 from distance until Aleesha Powell finally drained a three in the third quarter to end the drought. Tiffany Jones then followed with a trey of her own, giving the Pirates a 43-28 lead.
Powell, who was quiet in the first half, played a big part on defense, forcing a 10-second violation from Providence, which had coach Tony Bozzella jumping off the bench in approval.
The Hall finished the third quarter with a 47-33 lead, but Providence would give them a test in the fourth.
The Friars worked off Seton Hall turnovers and missed shots to make it as little as a 57-51 deficit with a little over a minute left, but a bucket from Powell and a rebound for Jones on the other end worked to seal the deal for the Pirates.
Seton Hall won the rebounding advantage handily, 43-31, and Jones played a large part in that with her double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds, her third of the season. Lubirdia Gordon also had 10 rebounds, with Taylor Byrne and Richardson-Smith adding six boards apiece.
Despite struggling from the arc – she went 0-7 – Richardson-Smith led all scorers with 16 points. She also added three steals. Shakena Richardson continued to show her scoring and passing prowess with 12 points and five assists and Powell contributed with 10 points of her own, including one of Seton Hall’s three three-pointers for the game.
With one win in the books, No. 23 Seton Hall continues Big East play at Creighton on Thursday, Dec. 31 at 2:05 p.m.
Elizabeth Swinton can be reached at Elizabeth.firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @eswint22.