The Seton Hall women’s basketball team is off to a hot start this year, holding Virginia Commonwealth University to just 33 points and narrowly losing by two points to Princeton at Walsh Gymnasium.
Comparatively, and given that there is a small sample size to pull from at this point in the season, the Pirates are yet to reach the statistical levels they achieved last year. However, their current marks are nearly hitting the same numbers as the Pirates did throughout the entirety of last season.
The Pirates are surprisingly averaging 10 points less in their opening five games of the 2019-20 season, 79.2, than in the 2018-19 season, 89.2. Defensively astute teams in VCU and Fairfield have prevented a repeat of last year’s 102-80 blowout of Kennesaw State, but Seton Hall’s respective wins over both those teams speaks to their resilience on the court to create opportunities for one another. Despite the small five game sample size, their 15.0 assists per game is just 1.9 assists per game below their season average from last year. With the early season rust slowly but surely wearing off the team, coach Anthony Bozzella’s team could soon catch many by surprise with their ball movement and efficiency from the field.
Their percentages from beyond the arc and from the free-throw line are better after the opening five games of this year as opposed to the whole of last. Barbara Johnson and Alexis Lewis have been a key part to the side maintaining 33.6% accuracy and 7.2 three-point shots per game. They are averaging about three less attempted three-point shots this season, but the efficiency with which they are finishing their opportunities will be a positive factor Bozzella will want to build upon as the season progresses.
Defensively, the Pirates are outdoing last season’s rebound average (37.1) with 37.8 rebounds per game. They are also 5.4 above the margin after five games as opposed to finishing last season -1.7 below the margin. It is another statistic heavily reliant on the sample size and more telling towards the end of the season, but the Pirates have been visibly more aggressive and confident claiming the ball in the paint.
In transition off turnovers, Seton Hall is putting up 19.4 points per game and are averaging 12.2 steals per game, 2.8 more than last year’s total average. While their efficiency and clinical finishing is defined by their points, the collectiveness and composure of the side is explained through these defensive transition statistics.
The Pirates are more mature in their positioning on either side of the court in order to maintain or win back possession. Their movement off steals and turnovers is cleaner and leads to a much more fluid build-up play from everyone on the court.
It is still incredibly early to be sure whether the numbers are signs of growth from the Pirates in comparison to 2018-19, but they show the part on the court. Friday night’s away game against Lehigh will be yet another test for the Pirates to overcome and show they mean business this season.
Justin Sousa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find him on Twitter @JustinSousa99.