The Seton Hall women’s basketball team’s offense struggled to keep up on Friday night in a 75-56 defeat to St. John’s at Carnesecca Arena in Queens, N.Y. The loss is the Pirates’ third straight after winning five of their previous six, and drops them to 15-12 overall and 7-9 in the Big East. With the result, Seton Hall remains in sixth place in the conference, one game above Georgetown for the final automatic spot in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals, with the Hoyas holding two games in hand.
The Pirates scored 26 of their 56 points in the paint, in addition to connecting on 44 percent of their three-pointers. However, leading scorer JaQuan Jackson, playing in her final true road game for as a Pirate, was held to just six points on 2-of-5 shooting as St. John’s played the stifling defense that held conference opponents Xavier and Butler to under 40 points earlier in the year.
Nicole Jimenez was on fire from the start, leading the Pirates with 15 points on four made three-pointers, while Kimi Evans added 14.
On the opposite end, both St. John’s players who stood out in the two teams’ earlier meeting on Jan. 21 had tremendous games. Alisha Kebbe poured in 20 points on a 7-of-8 shooting performance, while Qadashah Hoppie added 18 of her own to help improve the Red Storm to 16-12 overall and 9-7 in conference play, cementing their spot in fifth place.
Both teams started out shooting exceptionally well, but after the first media timeout, the Pirates went cold. St. John’s kept up its shooting all night, ending at a 57 percent clip and an impressive 9-of-14 from behind the arc.
Despite St. John’s impeccable shooting, ball security plagued both teams. Seton Hall and St. John’s each turned the ball over 15 times, which prevented either side from developing any rhythm or smoothness to their play. Still, St. John’s opened up a 20-12 lead after the opening frame, and the Red Storm never looked back, starting the second quarter on an 8-0 run and widened the gap over the latter stages of the evening.
The women’s basketball team will return home to Walsh Gymnasium for its final two games of the regular season. The Pirates will host Marquette on Friday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. in the Play4Kay Pink Game before closing out conference play against DePaul on Senior Day on Sunday, Feb. 25 at 1 p.m.
Kyle Beck can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @notkylebeck.