Women host No. 24 Gamecocks
Sophomore center Chizoba Ekedigwe challenges a shot while senior guard Brittany Morris and junior Janee Johnson look for the ball in the Pirates’ season opener on Nov. 9. Leah Poland, The Setonian
On Sunday the Seton Hall women's basketball team will look to continue their winning ways at home when they take on the South Carolina Gamecocks.
The Pirates (3-4) have dropped four out of their last five games. Meanwhile, South Carolina comes into the game boasting an undefeated record of 8-0. The Gamecocks are a young team; however, that has yet to hold them back from being ranked No. 24 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
After starting off the season with two wins at home, the Pirates struggled to continue their success on the road in part to a lack of scoring. Head coach Anne Donovan said she sees the offense as the biggest challenge for the Pirates.
"I'd like to see more points," Donovan said. "In our four losses that was our issue, it wasn't the defense, it was the offense struggling to score."
Senior guard Brittany Morris has been the go-to player so far this season, averaging 35 minutes and 14 points per game. Morris has been the leading scorer this year in five out of seven games.
Alongside her, senior forward Alexandra Maseko has put together a string of solid performances in the paint. Maseko has been averaging seven points per game and leads the team in rebounds with an average of 5.8 per game. The two have been looked at a reliable combo for Donovan this season.
For the Gamecocks, the contributions have been coming from all over. They are a team that has three players scoring in double figures. While they may get contributions from multiple players, the two biggest factors coming into the game are forwards Ashley Brunner and Aleighsa Welch. Brunner, a senior, is the team's leading scorer, averaging 12.4 points a game. Welch, a sophomore, averages a double-double with 11.4 points and 10 rebounds.
Seven games into the season, the Pirates may not have the record they were hoping for, but there is a fight in the team that has kept them in some tough games. Although the record may look discouraging through seven games, the Pirates are playing a scrappy style of play, but have run into a string of top tier teams, especially last week against the Michigan Wolverines.
"We have a very tough schedule for our girls especially being on the road with a lot of good teams," Donovan said. "Hopefully this helps us get more experience for when we get into the Big East."
Freshman guard Tabatha Richardson-Smith has had an impact coming off the bench for the Pirates. She scored a career high 19 points in the team's win over Siena on Wednesday. In order to stick with the Gamecocks the Pirates are going to have to get off to a fast start.
"We have a little more beef this year and some new zones so we'll try to mix up our defenses to keep South Carolina off balance," Donovan said.
Now 3-0 at home, Richardson-Smith said it's important to keep the momentum at home to continue this streak.
"This is our home court," Richardson-Smith said. "They have to respect us at our home; we can't lose."
The Pirates take on South Carolina at 2 p.m. this Sunday in the Walsh Gymnasium.
Kenny Lenoci can be reached at email@example.com.
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