After getting off to their best start in program history, the Seton Hall women’s basketball team is in unfamiliar territory.
The Pirates are coming off of back-to-back losses (on Jan. 5 and 9) for the first time all year. The Hall fell at home to DePaul – the reigning Big East Tournament champs – and were bested by St. John’s in the first game of their current three game road swing.
“This team has never faced that adversity. I’m excited to see how we respond. It’s a much better league than it’s ever been,” said head coach Tony Bozzella. “But we’ve had two great practices… We really have, they’ve bounced back with some intensity and some toughness, and that’s what we needed.”
In their two most recent losses, the Pirates faced double digit defi- cits in the first half before mounting comeback efforts that ultimately fell short. The Pirates were down 32 points to DePaul in the third quarter and faced a 14 point halftime deficit to St. John’s. The second quarter has been particularly problematic for Seton Hall as the team has been outscored a combined 53-20 in the second quarter of those two losses.
“Our defense has let us down, going away from being aggressive, away from dictating, and it’s been very disappointing,” said Bozzella. “We have to do a better job.”
How the team responds to this adversity will be determined as the Hall continues its stretch of three consecutive away games with a Jan. 15 showdown against Villanova followed by a matchup with Georgetown on Sunday.
Contrary to Seton Hall’s last two games, Villanova is coming off of two consecutive road wins at Marquette and DePaul. The Wildcats turn the ball over fewer than any team in the country with 7.4 per game and rank second in the Big East in scoring defense, allowing 59.2 points per game. The game plan will emphasize the defensive end of the floor according to Bozzella.
“Our defense has to be better. Obviously we aren’t going to turn them over a lot, but we have to contest a lot of shots.”
Despite the bump in the road Seton Hall holds a 13-3, 3-2 record and is in the mix to be at the top of the Big East standings. They currently sit in fifth place.
“It’s not time to push the panic button,” he said. “It’s a long season. Once we win one game we’re going to win six, seven, eight in a row. We just got to get that one win, and hopefully it’s Friday. I have a lot of confidence in this team no matter what. I believe in this team, they believe in each other.”
Matt Zeigafuse can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. edu or on twitter @mattzeigafuse.