The Seton Hall women’s basketball team is looking to build on its first Big East conference win of the season over Villanova as they take on the No. 25 St. John’s Red Storm on Sunday at Walsh Gymnasium.
Seton Hall visited St. John’s at Carnesecca Arena earlier this season and lost handily, 60-40. The Red Storm were not ranked in the AP Poll at that time.
The Pirates were ineffective putting the ball in the basket during the game, shooting just 30 percent from the floor and 53.8 percent from the foul line. Also, the Pirates committed 27 turnovers in the game that resulted in 22 points for the Red Storm.
The Hall was also outrebounded by St. John’s in the game, 42-40.
The Pirates will look to pull the upset over the Red Storm, despite having an 8-110 record overall versus teams ranked in the AP Poll.
Seton Hall has not defeated the Red Storm at home since the 2006-2007 season when the Pirates won 54-50.
St. John’s comes into the game with an 18-4 record overall and are 6-3 in the Big East, enough for fifth place in the conference. Three out of their four losses have come to ranked opponents including No. 1 UConn, 94-21. The Red Storm have a road record of 7-3 while the Pirates hold a 5-6 mark at home this season.
“We can win if we all compete and do all the little things correctly,” junior guard Ebonie Williams said. “As of late we have improved. We’re playing better defensively, rebounding better and putting the ball in the basket.”
St. John’s comes in with a balanced lineup that has eight players averaging six points or more per game. For Seton Hall to beat the Red Storm, they may need to focus on stopping Red Storm sophomore forward Da’Shena Stevens.
Stevens is averaging 14 points per game and 7.6 rebounds per game on the season and in the game against Seton Hall earlier this season, she tallied 17 points and recorded 12 rebounds.
“In order for us to win we need to be the tougher team,” Williams said. “It’s going to be a physical game. We need to battle as well as play defense.”
After hosting the Red Storm, Seton Hall will take the short trip to Piscataway to take on in-conference rival Rutgers on Wednesday.
The Hall has not beat Rutgers, a constant Big East powerhouse, since the 2001-2002 season when they won 61-51. The last time Seton Hall was victorious at the Louis Brown Athletic Center (also known as the RAC) was over a decade ago when the Pirates topped the Scarlet Knights during the 1995-1996 season, 69-56. That year, the Hall made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament as well.
Rutgers holds a 12-10 record overall and a 4-4 mark in conference play, placing them in a four-way tie for sixth place in the Big East. Seven out of Rutgers’ 10 losses this season have come to ranked opponents.
The Scarlet Nights’ record at the RAC this season is 8-3 with two of the losses also coming to teams ranked in the top three of the AP Poll. Seton Hall is 4-7 on the road this season.
“Its two New Jersey teams going at it,” Williams said. “The fans have it out for you. I love the boo’s.”
Rutgers has five players scoring six-plus points per game and is lead by senior guard Brittany Ray who is averaging 15 points, three rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game.
Defensively they average 1.8 more steals and 1.7 more blocks per game than their opponents on the year.
“We need to score points to win,” assistant coach Kim Tingley said.
The Pirates may look to Williams at 13.8 points per game, sophomore forward Kandice Green at 13.6 points per game and senior forward Nicole Emery at 10 points per game to continue put up points against the Rutgers defense.
“We need to put our offense and defense together as a whole,” Tingley said. “Every game we need to be ready to play and sustain that for 40 minutes.”
Colin Rajala can be reached at email@example.com.