The fluid, explosive offense of the Seton Hall women’s basketball team, which is now 2-0 on the season, has largely been fueled by the chemistry of its talented guards.
“We play really well together and we also play off of each other,” freshman Kaela Hilaire said of her connection with JaQuan Jackson and LaTecia Smith. “I like to get them to score first,” Hilaire said. “We all depend on each other.”
The trio is responsible for 62 percent of the team’s total scoring on just their points alone and have each broken double figures in the team’s first two games.
The play of point guards Hilaire and Smith have been especially important to head coach Tony Bozzella.
“I thought KK did a good job and TT’s playing the best she’s played since she’s been in this program,” Bozzella said. “I told her that she’s playing fearlessly, aggressively and tough. They’re young kids and they’re gonna get better.”
After seeing limited action in a deep backcourt last season, Smith has made her presence known. She was recognized with her selection to the Big East Honor Roll last week.
The sophomore captain is averaging four assists, 6.5 rebounds and more than four steals per game, yet the most impressive statistic may be her scoring contributions.
“We’ve moved her off the ball a little bit because we need the scoring and she’s been great,” Bozzella said. “I’m very proud of her. She worked hard all summer, had some severe foot problems, and she hasn’t missed a beat. She’s gotten a lot better.”
Smith is pouring in 14 points per game and is so far perfect from the charity stripe.
Talented youth has been a major theme on this team, and Hilaire is no exception to that.
“KK – she reads the floor very well,” Smith noted of her freshman teammate who is averaging a team-high five assists per game.
Beyond the dominant point guard duo, Jackson has shown flashes of a capable top scoring option the young Pirates’ squad may need.
The transfer from Louisiana Tech is putting up a team leading 19.5 points per game, as well as finding her rhythm across all categories with 4.5 boards, three assists and 2.5 steals.
Despite the two early victories, the team has struggled with coughing up the ball. The trio of Jackson, Smith and Hilaire has given up 22 turnovers in these initial matchups.
“It’s more about working on it in practice,” Jackson said of limiting the team’s turnovers. “Being patient, more importantly.”
The Pirates will look to work on controlling the ball as they continue their season on the momentum of big numbers and intense play from the talented guards.
Kyle Kasharian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ItsKyleKash.