The women’s basketball team fell Feb. 26 to St. John’s University, giving the team a regular season record of 11-18 and 4-14 in Big East play.
It is the team’s first overall losing record since the 2012-13 season and the worst so far under coach Tony Bozzella’s reign.
With a young team, a rebuilding year was expected from Seton Hall. However, the way the season went may prove to be a stepping-stone to hopeful success for the Pirates, who will attempt to improve this offseason and in the upcoming Big East Tournament.
The season started well for Seton Hall, going 3-0 in its first three non-conference games against Savannah State, Marist and Boston College.
The team’s first loss came at the hands of Minnesota, which handily beat the Pirates on their home court. Seton Hall finished non-conference play with a 7-4 record.
In Big East play, Seton Hall began with a 64-59 home win vs. St. John’s. The team was unable to keep any momentum however and lost its next six games until snapping the streak Jan. 20 in a win at home against Providence.
From there the team began to improve, taking the Big East’s No. 2 Creighton Bluejays to overtime, where it eventually lost but showed promise by staying close to a top team in the conference. The next weekend was the highlight of the Pirates’ season. The team beat both Xavier and Butler at home within two days of each other. In both matchups, the Pirates shot over 45 percent and gave up 62 and 63 points, which are among the lowest on the season.
After the impressive weekend, the Pirates were unable to continue their success. They lost their final seven Big East games after going 4-7, with the closest one being Feb. 26, a six-point loss to St. John’s.
Playing on the road was a challenge for Seton Hall, where they were unable to pick up an away conference win. The Pirates went 4-5 at home in conference play in comparison and 10-8 overall at Walsh Gym. The only away win was in the second game of the regular season when they beat Marist 76-63.
Seton Hall ended the regular season shooting a cumulative 39.6 percent on the season and ranked fifth in the Big East in average points per game. However, Seton Hall struggled more so on the defensive end, where it ranked last in scoring defense, giving up an average 73.2 points per game.
Seton Hall also ranked toward the bottom in scoring margin, free throw percentage, rebounding and assist-to-turnover ratio.
Many of these rankings are the consequences of having an inexperienced team. Freshman Kaela Hilaire came into this year taking on a big role at the point guard position and is going to look to take her experience from this year with her throughout the upcoming Big East Tournament and the rest of her collegiate career.
“(It was) definitely a learning process. I got better as the season went on. I learned a lot so now I have a little bit of experience under my belt,” Hilaire said.
Redshirt junior JaQuan Jackson, who had a career-high 32 points vs. the Red Storm on Feb. 26 and led the team with 15.5 points per game, will look to build off this season into her senior year.
“I think we’ve grown a lot. We’ve had our ups and downs, been through a lot with the wins and losses so I think it’s really good for us going into the Big East Tournament,” Jackson said.
The Pirates will now look forward to the Big East Tournament starting on March 4 where the No. 8-seeded Pirates will play Providence, a team they split the season series with. The winner will then face No. 1-seeded DePaul on March 5.
Keith Egan can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Keith_egan10.