The Seton Hall women’s basketball team fell, 94-85, to DePaul on Friday night at Walsh Gymnasium. The loss drops the Pirates to sixth in the Big East with a conference record of 6-8 and an overall record of 14-11.
Although defense was a concern on the night, the biggest concern was when Shadeen Samuels went down with an injury in the third quarter. Samuels, the Pirates’ key offensive weapon, exited with an injury to her left arm. This season, Samuels has been All-Big East caliber, averaging 18.5 points and nine rebounds per game. Once she left, the Blue Demons were able to pull away.
“Shadeen is the third leading rebounder in the league,” head coach Anthony Bozzella said. “We think of all the points she scores. She is the third leading rebounder in the league. She is the best defensive forward in the league. She is probably one of the top-two or top-three players in this league. It’s not an excuse, but at the end of the day, they got a lot of offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter. A couple of their bigger kids got matched up on our smaller kids because we did not have Shadeen. It was a great advantage for them.”
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Stepping up in Samuels’ absence was Desiree Elmore. After scoring just two points in the first half, Elmore exploded for 19 points in the second half while grabbing a total of eight rebounds.
“Desiree really came on in the second half,” Bozzella said. “I challenged her at halftime because I was not thrilled with her play and she did not pout, did not put her head down. She came out with a lot of energy and played better in the second half. We needed that.”
The starting guards for the game, Inja Butina and Nicole Jimenez, were taking shots but could not get them to fall for most of the night. Butina finished with 11 points on 3-for-15 shooting, with all three of her makes coming in the last minute of regulation. Jimenez played all 40 minutes and took 18 shots to get 16 points, with the majority of her points coming from her four made three pointers.
The bigger picture for tonight’s game though was the fight against cancer. In the university’s “Seton Hall vs. Cancer Game”, it was more than just a contest. The purpose was to spread knowledge about the sickness.
“We are trying to raise the awareness,” Bozzella said. “It’s not just the balloons and the pink. Why are we wearing pink? To raise awareness. Awareness is really important, so I am so thankful and grateful that our school is committed to this cause.”
The Pirates will return to action on Feb. 17 for the last home game of the season and subsequently Senior Day. Tipoff is set for 12 p.m.
Robert Fallo can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @robert_fallo