The Seton Hall’s women’s basketball team reduced a 21-point deficit to five on Sunday against Villanova but ultimately could not complete the comeback, losing 73-68.
After heavily controlling the first meeting between the two sides, the Pirates found themselves playing catchup for most of the game the second time around.
In the first half, Seton Hall’s small ball lineup was not able to gain the edge, as Villanova continued to look inside the paid for point, scoring 14 points from close range. Wildcat forward Mary Gedaka, who nearly had a double-double in the last meeting, continued to create problems for the Pirates with her six points and seven rebounds at halftime.
Inja Butina had the hot hand and paced the tempo of the team in the first two quarters. Butina put in well-rounded effort of eight points, two rebounds and three assists while shooting 50 percent from the field. She finished with 23 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
Both teams were relatively the same in turnovers, fast break points and bench points. What costed the Pirates was the cold field goal shooting. Seton Hall could not buy a basket in the first half, only shooting 34 percent from the field.
The 14-point lead Villanova had going into the second half made it a tough task for a Seton Hall comeback.
Shadeen Samuels came out of the halftime break aggressively and it enabled her to score six of the first eight Seton Hall points. Her efforts also cut the Wildcats’ to eight with six minutes left in the third quarter.
Samuels got back on track with 18 points, after her 12-game double-digit scoring streak was snapped last game at Georgetown.
Down by 21 points with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Pirates had to make a last push to change the looming result of the game. Butina carried the team down the stretch, scoring 10 points dishing out two assists during the run. Seton Hall’s 21-5 run got them within five with 30 seconds remaining, but the Wildcats made their free throws and it simply was not enough time to mount a comeback.
Up next for the Seton Hall women’s basketball team is the Big East regular season finale as they travel to Queens, N.Y. on March 3 to take on St. John’s.
Evando Thompson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Thompsev.