Last week, the remainder of the Seton Hall women’s basketball schedule was finalized. The Pirates will be itching to move on from and subsequently build upon a disappointing end to the 2017-18 season, a loss to Saint Joseph’s in the first round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament.
Despite an NIT bid, Seton Hall ended last season with an even 16-16 record. The roster has experienced significant turnover since then, but with sixth-year head coach Tony Bozzella at the helm, Seton Hall is ready to attack the task at hand.
The Pirates will begin their regular season at Walsh Gymnasium on Nov. 6 against Wagner University.
The team then moves on to the Seton Hall Tip-Off Tournament, which brings Kennesaw State University and the University of Texas at San Antonio to campus.
Following that, the Pirates will hit the road for the first time, playing in-state rival Princeton University on Nov. 14 and UCLA on Nov. 18.
UCLA is the first of three 2018 NCAA Tournament participants that the Pirates will play this season. As a No. 3 seed, the Bruins made it all the way to the quarterfinals before losing to Mississippi State.
After the UCLA matchup, Seton Hall will come back to New Jersey for a three-game homestand, before venturing up to Hartford, Conn. to face the powerhouse University of Connecticut, another NCAA Tournament opponent.
The Huskies, winners of 111 straight games from Nov. 2014 to April 2017, made it to the Final Four before losing in overtime to Notre Dame. Ultimately, Geno Auriemma’s team will provide the most difficult game for the Pirates, at least on paper.
After the face-off with Geno Auriemma’s team, Seton Hall will travel to Florida to take on Georgia Tech and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in the West Palm Beach Invitational.
The difficult non-league slate will almost certainly prepare the Pirates for the tail end of their season. Bozzella attributed the culture and atmosphere that has been built around Seton Hall basketball to be the cause of such a high-profile schedule.
“We will play some great local matchups with teams like Princeton and of course some of the biggest names in our sport in UConn and UCLA,” Bozzella said. “When basketball institutions like that want to play you, it is a sign of where your program is and what we have build here at Seton Hall.”
The whirlwind part of the schedule begins on Dec. 30 when St. John’s visits South Orange to begin Big East play.
Following that game, the Pirates will travel to play Butler and Xavier within a two-day stretch before returning home yet again.
The season’s first matchup with the Villanova Wildcats, the last of the NCAA Tournament opponents, will come on Friday Jan. 25 at home. The two teams square off again on Feb. 24, but this time in Pennsylvania. That game comes in the middle of a three-game road trip to end the season. The team’s final regular season home game will be Feb. 17 against Marquette.
The Big East Tournament will begin on Mar. 9 this year and the NIT will follow shortly after. The Pirates, who have not finished with a winning record since 2015-16, will look to bounce back this season.
“I am looking forward to the challenge that this schedule presents and can’t wait to get started with this group of young ladies,” said Bozzella.
Kevin Kopf can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @KMKTNF.