The Desiree Elmore and Shadeen Samuels show was out in full force at Walsh Gymnasium on Saturday.
The duo combined for 20 of Seton Hall’s 33 first half points and continued its offensive dominance in the second half as the Pirates cruised to a 74-44 victory over Fairfield to improve to 2-0 on the season.
Elmore registered a double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds, while Samuels contributed 12 points and nine rebounds.
“I thought the girls did an excellent job sharing the basketball today,” coach Tony Bozzella said. “We played well together very unselfishly.”
After Fairfield opened the game with a basket, Barbara Johnson, who finished with xx points, got the Pirates going with a field goal of her own. Johnson later gave Seton Hall the lead for good with a drive to the rim and layup to make it 6-4.
On the back of a 15-3 run, the Pirates opened up a 24-9 lead by the end of the first quarter. Seton Hall extended its lead to 28-9 in the opening minutes of the second, but went stagnant offensively after that. The Pirates endured a 3:48 scoring drought featuring numerous turnovers to allow Fairfield to work its way back into the game and trail only 33-21 at halftime.
“We were just missing shots,” Bozzella said. “We have to give Fairfield some credit. They made some adjustments. They went a little man, a little zone and they got us off balance. I thought our defense stayed consistent and that was really important to us.”
“We know that in games that’s gonna happen,” Samuels said. “We’re not always going to be going full speed and scoring every time. We just take a breath and tell each other to relax and calm down. The game’s not over yet, so we just need to play at our pace and not the other team’s.”
Seton Hall’s offensive struggles continued to open the second half and Fairfield cut the Pirates’ lead to single digits, but Johnson got the Hall back on track with a three from the wing to end a five-minute scoring drought.
“I was really proud of Barbara,” Bozzella said. “It was a subpar game for her last game. She played how she’s capable of today.”
Johnson’s triple sparked an offensive surge, as Seton Hall proceeded to go on a 10-0 run to regain a comfortable lead. At the end of three, the Pirates held a 57–37 advantage and used their third quarter momentum to put Fairfield away in the fourth.
While Elmore and Samuels filled it up, Seton Hall’s overall offensive operation wasn’t quite where Bozzella would like it. The Pirates shot only 11% from three and struggled from beyond the arc until a third quarter surge from deep upped their percentage. Turnovers also piled up, as Seton Hall gave the ball away 11 times in the first half before cleaning up its act coming out of the locker room.
“We were getting good shots, we were just getting frustrated,” Bozzella said. “We’re not going to have too many bad shooting nights in this gym. I think on Tuesday and Friday you’re going to see us shoot really well.”
With Saturday’s action in the books, the focus shifts to VCU on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in Walsh Gymnasium.
“I think it’s important we focus on defense and play together as we did today,” Samuels said. “If we do that, it’ll be a good outcome for us.”
Tyler Calvaruso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find him on Twitter @tyler_calvaruso.