In front of a sold-out and buzzing home crowd, the Seton Hall women’s basketball team fell to St. John’s, 72-64, Sunday afternoon. The loss brings the Pirates to 17-6 on the season and 7-5 in Big East play.
“I’ve coached for 25 years and I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Those were head coach Tony Bozzella’s words after a frustrating effort from his team.
Seton Hall flew out to an 8-0 lead to start the game and led 14-10 after the first quarter, but St. John’s brought the momentum into the second.
Play after play, St. John’s continued to pound the paint. The Red Storm was even more active on defense, tallying five steals and forcing 10 turnovers by the half.
The Pirates were outscored 22-14 in the second quarter and trailed 32-28 at halftime.
What seemed like the turning point came in the third quarter, where Seton Hall forced two straight steals and a 10-second violation to bring the Pirates within three points. The packed Walsh Gym was loud and on its feet, but St. John’s rhythm came right back with a buzzer-beating three and a 56-47 lead into the fourth quarter.
After more pressure from St. John’s in the paint, the Pirates fought back to within three points with 1:25 remaining in the game. Seton Hall would go on to make just two of its last 10 field goals and let the game slip away.
“I thought today was a clear example of a selfish basketball team who did not do a good job at all,” Bozzella said. “We had zero assists in the second half, to go with our nine turnovers.”
While Tabatha Richardson-Smith led the team with 18 points, the most impactful players were found in the frontcourt.
“We had two people that gave us a good effort today: Tiffany Jones and Luburdia Gordon,” Bozzella said. Gordon put up a double-double with 10 points and a team-leading 13 rebounds, and Jones was big on defense in the paint.
“At the end of the day, it’s not rocket science,” Bozzella said. “If you’re not going to practice hard, not going to be ready to practice, you’re not going to put the same commitment in that we were 10-0, to now that we’re 17-6, it’s what you’re going to get.”
The Pirates continue their homestand on Friday, Feb. 12 against Georgetown.
Elizabeth Swinton can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @eswint22.