No matter what level of competition, athletes have a relationship with their home floor. For every women’s basketball player at Seton Hall, that relationship is with the historic Walsh Gym. Last Sunday was the Pirates’ Senior Day, as they played their last home game of the season in a loss against Villanova.
Before the game, Seton Hall honored its graduating seniors with a ceremony. Those honored included Tara Inman, Kat Egan and Lubirdia Gordon. Despite the loss, coach Tony Bozzella was happy to see his seniors honored before their last game.
“It was really nice, but it was a little bittersweet,” Bozzella said. “Obviously, everyone was sad Kat and Tara couldn’t play because they were two really important people to our program. You could not look at them statistically because their impact went a lot farther than that.”
Both Inman and Egan sat out this season after suffering rough injuries during the early stages of last year’s campaign. Egan tore her ACL prior to the 2015-16 season, effectively ending her Pirate career. Inman also suffered a season-ending injury just two games into the same season. Despite their injuries, Bozzella utilized both as mentors to his young squad, knowing the two would want to stay involved in the program.
The only senior to play was Lubirdia Gordon. She was a bright spot for the Pirates, establishing her veteran presence inside the paint. She led the Pirates in points on Senior Day, finishing with 18 after shooting 7-8 from the field. Bozzella could not be any happier for Gordon after her final home game.
“Lubirdia has meant a lot to us on and off the court,” Bozzella said. “She has been a great player, but she has always been such a good presence in the locker room. She’s just a really good kid that always has a smile on her face.”
When asked about Gordon’s future as a professional basketball player, Bozzellasaid he had not yet discussed it with Gordon and her mother. However, he is confident that she could make it.
“If she wanted to go pro, being a center, she would have a great opportunity,” Bozzella said.
In what was an inconsistent season for a young Pirates squad, but the three seniors provided an element of consistent veteran leadership. While he is sad to see them go, Bozzella knows his seniors left a positive mark on the program.
“We were more inconsistent than we thought we would be, but the girls learned a ton this season and the future looks bright,” he said.
That future is largely embedded in the depth of the freshman class that showed flashes of talent throughout the season.
Of the six freshmen, five started three or more games, and five of the six joined the starting lineup for at least one contest.
“I thought Deja Winters played consistently the best,” Bozzella said of the freshman wing who averaged 5.9 points and 2.7 boards.
Only one freshman solidified her starting spot, and her future with the program could be bright should she find consistency.
“I thought KK showed great flashes where she has the opportunity to be a high level player, but her consistency is a big issue,” Bozzella said.
With the Pirates approaching another offseason to grow and flourish, one of the Hall’s main themes will be establishing consistency in their play.
Andrew Lombardo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @anlombardo8.