The Seton Hall women’s basketball team suffered their first defeat of the season at home tonight in an 85-83 loss to Princeton.
After trailing by as much as 12 with three minutes remaining, the Pirates fought back, but could not secure a lead in the final minutes as a buzzer-beating three by Pirates guard Inja Butina ended the game with the Hall just two points short. The two teams traded leads ten times throughout the duration of the contest.
“We don’t give up,” head coach Tony Bozzella said of his team’s late game effort. “We did a great job. I thought we fought right to the end, and I think those things are important. I think more so than not if you fight all the way, you’re going to be successful.”
Princeton were a force in the paint offensively due to their size and off-the-ball movement. Those factors led to the Tigers accounting for 26 of their 35 first half points in that region, while totaling 48 points in the paint on the game.
Princeton’s 6-foot-4 center Bella Alaire was primarily guarded by Seton Hall forward Shadeen Samuels, who stands at 6 feet tall. Samuels was able to defend Alaire aggressively, but foul trouble ended her night early as Alaire went on to be the focal point of the visitor’s offense with a game-high 21 points and 12 rebounds.
“I think Shadeen [Samuels] is one of the best defensive forwards that I’ve ever coached,” Bozzella said. “I think she did a really great job and in the end; I think one or two fouls she probably shouldn’t have committed, and that would’ve kept her in. Clearly they went at her.”
The Hall found much of their success in forcing 23 points off of 19 Princeton turnovers as the Pirates ran the break effectively, shown in their 12 fast-break points.
“I was worried about transition defense, but I thought we did a good job,” Bozzella said. “It was 12-nothing in fast break points – I was petrified of that. I thought we would lose.”
Despite the Hall’s ability to score in transition, they only converted on 36.4 percent of their field goals, while the Tigers bested them shooting 52.6 percent from the field.
Bright spots for the Hall’s attack were Donnaizha Fountain and Taylor Brown, with Fountain putting together a 21 point, nine rebound night, while Brown had 13 points and 11 rebounds, including seven offensive boards.
The Pirates will have a long break until their next matchup on Saturday, Nov. 25 when they host Rider in the SHU Thanksgiving Classic. There the Pirates will look to even out their record against Garden State opposition, with tipoff set for 12 p.m.
Kyle Kasharian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ItsKyleKash.