The Seton hall women’s basketball team holds a 17-6 record with six games left in the regular season, but it might be as good as over, according to head coach Tony Bozzella.
“I told the team straight out, very honest: This team does not have the desire nor the toughness nor the willingness to be an NCAA team or to be a team that can finish in the top two or three in the Big East,” Bozzella said after Seton Hall’s frustrating loss to St. John’s Sunday afternoon.
Bozzella holds high expectations for his team. Last year he led his squad to an impressive resume: Big East regular season champions, the best record in program history (with just four losses) and an NCAA Tournament bid.
While many of the key cogs from that team left following the season, the lineup was replenished with senior transfer talent.
But that’s just the problem.
Bozzella believes that his team has fallen off, with players complaining of fatigue and injury. Being a veteran team, he cannot be the force to get it back on track.
“I can’t will a bunch of seniors to play,” Bozzella said. “Are you out of your mind?”
The job of turning the ship around will not be up to the staff. It will not be up to the coach. It is up to one group, and one group only – the players themselves.
“I told them this: It’s not an opportunity for me to make changes,” Bozzella said. “It’s an opportunity for them to get back to playing the way they’re capable of doing. Until they want to do that, we’re not going to be successful.”
In order to find that success, Bozzella said the team must make changes, and it all starts in the gym.
“For God’s sake, pass the f—–g ball,” Bozzella said after his team recorded zero assists in the second half of Sunday’s game. “It’s f—–g b——t. It starts in practice.”
Bozzella cited that practices have been a “drag,” and that players who would be in the gym shooting by early afternoon at the start of the season are down to just one: Kaity Healy, a freshman who has not played one minute this season.
“It’s not acceptable. It’s just not. It’s disgusting. It’s not a Tony Bozzella-coached team,” a frustrated Bozzella said. “We talk about sharing and moving and enjoying ourselves, playing basketball. Disgusting.”
In the final stretch of the season, Bozzella knows Judgment Day is coming with a matchup against Georgetown set for Friday.
“If we have three good practices, then maybe we have a chance. Maybe. If we don’t have three good practices, we have no chance.”
It comes down to the veterans of this team coming together and deciding if they want to succeed, in both the regular season and beyond.
“I haven’t got a lot of confidence right now,” Bozzella said. “Because, honestly, I don’t know where it’s going to come from, I really don’t.”
Elizabeth Swinton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. edu or on Twitter @eswint22.