The Seton Hall women’s basketball team may be young, but a key addition in the offseason will bring a great deal of experience to this year’s team.
Donnaizha Fountain, a graduate student, will make her debut in the Pirate uniform – and expectations are high.
Fountain, a native of Roxbury, Mass., began her college career at Georgia Tech in 2013, where she saw little playing time as a freshman. She transferred to Temple University in her sophomore year, but eligibility rules forced her to sit out the 2014-15 season.
She played well in her first year with the Owls, averaging 10.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. She led the team in three-point percentage, shooting .372 from beyond the arc. In the 2016-17 season, she took a step up, averaging 14.1 points and 7.5 rebounds en route to a Second Team All-AAC selection.
After graduating at the end of last season, Fountain decided to pursue a master’s degree in human resources. She looked at a few schools before her AAU coach, Keith Danzy, connected her with Seton Hall head coach Tony Bozzella.
“He contacted me and asked if we had a certain amount of graduate programs, and we did,” Bozzella said.
“I remember sitting in a night class and I got a text from a New Jersey number,” Fountain said. “I’m like ‘Who is this?’ and it was obviously Coach B, but I didn’t know that then.”
“Donnaizha and I spoke on the phone for about 45 minutes, and we hit it off,” Bozzella said.
For Fountain, Seton Hall offered more than just a master’s program. She said she truly felt that Bozzella needed her on the basketball team and that she would be appreciated as a Pirate. In addition, she was drawn to the family atmosphere that Seton Hall had.
“The environment here at Seton Hall is very close and well-connected,” Fountain said. “As soon as I walked in the door, the way [Bozzella] hugged me and my mom, it just felt different. It was something I haven’t felt since AAU and high school. I think I need it for this last go around.”
After further discussion with her family and Danzy, she decided to commit to Seton Hall.
Fountain, now the oldest player on the Pirates roster, brings great value to a young Pirate team that is looking for direction. For Bozzella, the experience she brings from her days at Temple is very important to a young Seton Hall squad.
“You can’t underestimate the impact of her experience,” Bozzella said. “She’s played in big games, she’s played against the best; UCONN was in their league. She’s not afraid to play against anyone and she’s been successful playing at a high level. I think that success and confidence will help the rest of our team live up to their abilities a well.”
Another asset that Fountain brings is her rebounding ability. Seton Hall lost its leading rebounder last season in Lubirdia Gordon, but Fountain’s career average of 7.1 rebounds per game as a guard is even higher than Gordon’s 5.1 mark as a center.
Fountain showed this ability in her premiere as a Pirate in the team’s preseason matchup against Jefferson on Nov. 4, where she put up 22 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.
With the start of the regular season set for Nov. 10, Fountain is still learning to adjust to life at Seton Hall. Being a graduate student at a new school brings a unique challenge to Fountain, but it is one that she is willing to take on.
“I’m new here, and we have a very young team,” Fountain said. “I really have to be a leader and I have to bring my A-game every day. I have to bring a positive attitude and bring positive vibes every day.”
Matt Lapolla can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MatthewLapolla.