The Seton Hall women’s basketball team defeated the visiting Butler Bulldogs, 75-64, at Walsh Gymnasium on Feb. 4. With the win, the Pirates improve to 15-9 overall and 7-6 in Big East play, while the visiting Bulldogs fall to 13-12, 5-8. Seton Hall has won five of its last six games, while Butler dropped its fourth in a row.
With Sunday’s win, the Pirates broke the .500 mark in conference play after starting 2-5. The Hall, at 7-6, is now tied with St. John’s for fifth in the Big East. Sunday’s result was the second fourth-quarter comeback in three days for the Hall, and the adjustments in late-game situations showed.
Coach Tony Bozzella, who before the game took part in a ceremony honoring his 400th-career win, explained his thoughts on the team’s late-game execution and mental toughness in overcoming another slow start.
“If we don’t defend, we can’t be competitive,” Bozzella said. “These kids have bought into defending, and they’ve accepted that challenge.”
His words ring true on the scoresheet, which showed that the Pirates forced 19 turnovers and blocked nine Bulldog shot attempts. Jayla Jones-Pack had five of the team’s blocks despite only playing just four minutes.
Shadeen Samuels notched a double-double for the Hall with 22 points and 11 rebounds, and JaQuan Jackson added 18. Samuels, like the rest of the team, struggled in a first-quarter where the Pirates scored just 10 points on 4-of-15 shooting. However, as they have done several times this season, the Pirates were strong playing from behind, taking the lead for the first and final time with 6:40 remaining and extending the lead at the charity stripe, going 25-of-31 from the foul line on the afternoon.
“We just tell each other, ‘Don’t stop shooting just because it’s not falling right now,’” Samuels said. “I think at this point everyone just wants to win, and when we have that mentality, we have a good practice, and we focus, good things happen.”
During the upcoming three-game road trip, that mental fortitude and the Pirates’ ability to lock down defensively will need to be on full display. That road trip begins Friday, Feb. 9 against Georgetown in Washington, D.C.
Kyle Beck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @notkylebeck.