Facing a nationally ranked opponent in college sports is always a daunting task, but doing it without your best player is a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. Such a situation was faced by the Seton Hall women’s basketball team on Sunday afternoon, playing against No. 8 Marquette without Shadeen Samuels. Ultimately, the Pirates suffered a 109-63 loss at Walsh Gymnasium on Senior Day.
Desiree Elmore and Inja Butina were bright spots on the day for the Pirates. Elmore was a consistent presence in the post, scoring 21 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Butina was key from beyond the arc, hitting three three-pointers to finish with 13 points. Nicole Jimenez was the third Pirate in double figures with 10 points, nine of which came from deep.
The Pirates kept it relatively close in the first quarter, only trailing 22-11 but struggling to keep up with the up-tempo pace Marquette was dictating. Two three-pointers from Butina and a pair of buckets from Elmore helped the Pirates cut the Marquette lead to 24-18 and 29-21 in the second quarter. From there, however, the Pirates’ ship sank quickly; Natisha Hiedeman spurred a 16-0 Golden Eagle run that put Marquette up 45-21 and effectively ended the Pirates’ chances before halftime.
Renee Nunez/Staff Photographer
The second half was all Golden Eagles as well with Hiedeman scoring at will and finishing with 34 points. She drained six three-pointers, shooting a torrid 14-for-18 from the field. Hiedeman, the second leading scorer in the Big East behind the injured Samuels, rebounded after being held to three points in a loss to St. John’s.
“[Marquette] did a great job. I knew that they were about sharing the ball, which they did,” head coach Anthony Bozzella said. “They did everything a great team does and they showed why they are the best team in the league.”
Despite the result, the day began on a positive note as the team’s four seniors, Victoria Cardaci, Butina, Kaity Healy, and Jimenez, were honored before the game, their last one at Walsh. While the blowout loss dampened the spirits of the team’s four seniors, it did nothing to dim their impact on the program.
“They show up on time, they’re great kids, great ambassadors for the program,” Bozzella said. “They’re all graduating and have great averages. I’m proud of them for being them.”
Looking forward, Bozzella hopes to have Shadeen Samuels back as soon as possible. He said she hurt her shoulder in Friday’s loss to DePaul and should be back in anywhere from one to three weeks, hopefully in time for the Big East Tournament on the weekend of March 9.
The Pirates return to action on Feb. 22 when they take on Georgetown.
Matthew Collins can be reached at email@example.com.