After draining 13 three-pointers in her first two games at Seton Hall, labeling Victoria Cardaci as a sharpshooter would be an appropriate tag.
In three years at Clemson, Cardaci knocked down 109 shots from beyond the arc while appearing in 74 games for the Tigers. Cardaci was a specialist on a Clemson team that finished below .500 every year she was with the team. Now, her role has expanded and the graduate student has been able to put on a show in every aspect of the game.
In her Seton Hall debut, Cardaci tied a program record with seven three pointers in a single game and she accomplished that feat in only one half of play. Her point total dipped to five in Seton Hall’s 102-80 win over Kennesaw State five days later, but Cardaci was right at home setting her teammates up for open looks and playing stout perimeter defense.
Against UTSA on Sunday, Cardaci totaled five points for the second consecutive game, but remained productive. At point guard for the majority of the afternoon, Cardaci added two assists and only turned the ball over once – a major development for a Seton Hall team that has struggled with turnovers in recent years.
After arriving at Seton Hall in January, Cardaci has put in a lot of work to get to this point. In the months she spent sitting out as a transfer, Cardaci went to work practicing with the team and expanded her repertoire. Used to playing off the ball at Clemson, Cardaci had to adapt to the point guard role on the fly and faced good competition in JaQuan Jackson on a daily basis.
Going against Jackson in practice helped Cardaci improve immensely on both sides of the court. Thrust into an unfamiliar role as a primary ballhandler, Cardaci prioritized setting her teammates up when she couldn’t create a shot for herself. On defense, Cardaci improved her lateral quickness in order to keep up with Jackson and her newly-acquired skill set will help her against Big East guards this season.
“She’s not just a three-point shooter,” coach Tony Bozzella said of Cardaci. “It’s the assists and everything that she’s been working on that has really impressed me.”
While Cardaci has excelled in her new role, she has not forgotten her roots as a three-point specialist. She is still comfortable working off the ball and finding success as her teammates set her up for open looks on the wing and in the corner – her two favorite spots to shoot from – while still working within Bozzella’s offense.
“Our guards do a great job of penetrating and kicking for wide open looks,” Cardaci said following the Wagner game. “Once we start to knock down shots as a team, it opens up the driving lanes for everybody else and that kind of gets the offense going.”
The ultimate team player, Cardaci has had no issue adopting the jack of all trades role. In order for Seton Hall to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2015-16 season, she will need to remain ready to contribute in every way possible for the most talented Bozzella team in a long time.
Tyler Calvaruso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @tyler_calvaruso.