The Seton Hall Pirates women’s basketball team clutched out a 65-63 victory over the Butler Bulldogs at Walsh Gymnasium on Sunday, Jan. 29.
Seton Hall entered the game looking for revenge, as its 79-58 loss to Butler on Jan. 2 was the first of a six-game losing streak.
The Hall started off strong by getting good looks from beyond the arc. JaQuan Jackson, Kaela Hilaire, Claire Lundberg and Deja Winters all hit three-pointers in the opening quarter. Butler responded with a tenacious offensive effort, forcing the Pirates to send them to the line where they hit seven of eight. The narrow 22-19 Pirate lead at the end of the first set the tone for the rest of the game. The Hall was able to hold a decent lead in the second quarter, ending the half leading 39-32. Jackson had 11 points on 4-7 shooting in the first half, while the team shot an efficient 8-15 from deep.
The Pirates ran into a roadblock in the second half. Jackson and Hilaire each had four fouls, and they were both forced to the bench with three minutes to go in the third. With the Hall missing two of its starting guards, Butler’s Michelle Weaver took over the game. She notched three steals and ten points in the remaining portion of the game, culminating in a game-tying layup with 29 seconds left. With time winding down and overtime looming, Hilaire drove in from the top of the key and hit the go-ahead layup in traffic with just two seconds to go. Butler tried for a game-winning three, but it rattled off the rim and Seton Hall closed out a 65-63 victory.
After the game, coach Tony Bozzella spoke highly of Hilaire’s performance.
“KK made a great read, took a tough shot and made it,” Bozzella said. “It stems from her having a really good week in practice, working hard and making her layups, so I give her credit for that.”
Bozzella also said the home crowd at Walsh helped his team get off to a strong start early on.
“I thought they gave us a lot of energy in the beginning of the game,” Bozzella said. “Friday night was a tough game, and then to come in and have to play a team like this today, that’s well coached and plays really hard…it was hard for us, but the crowd got us going.”
Jackson led the Pirates with 13 points, and LaTecia Smith put forward a solid overall performance with 12 points, five assists, five rebounds and five steals. Weaver led Butler in scoring with 25 points on 11-19 shooting. Tori Schickel also had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
The Pirates improve to 11-11 (4-7 in conference) on the year, while Butler falls to 5-17 (2-9 in conference). Seton Hall resumes action at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3 when the team travels to Milwaukee to face the Marquette Golden Eagles.
Matt Lapolla can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @MatthewLapolla.