The Pirates were unable to capitalize on early shooting woes by Villanovaon Friday night as they fell to the Wildcats at home, 67-59.
The game opened up positively for the Pirates, as they stormed out to an early 10-5 lead. This charge was led by Shadeen Samuels, who was a prominent threat the entire game. Many times, Samuels was able to drive and finish in the paint.
The Pirates also provided defense that stagnated any offensive threat that Villanova put up. The Hall held the Wildcats scoreless for the final four minutes of the first quarter, finishing with a 16-7 lead.
The ironclad defense for the Pirates continued in the second quarter, but the offense did not follow suit. The lack of offensive production by Seton Hall allowed Villanova to slowly claw its way back into the game. Nova’s offense was reliant on Kelly Jekot, as she secured 21 points for the visiting squad.
The final five minutes of the second quarter saw the offense of the Pirates start to ignite. Donnaizha Fountain hit a nice pump-fake three to increase the lead, and later she finished down low to put her team up 23-17. Riding that offensive run late in the quarter, the Pirates entered the half up 26-17.
Once the second half hit, though, the Pirates began to let their defense slide. Villanova came out firing in the third quarter, and the Pirates did not have many answers. The Wildcats climbed back into the game by being more assertive on the boards than the Pirates.
“They’re the type of team that will make you defend them for 25 to 30 seconds, if you let them get an offensive rebound, it will be a minute,” assistant coach Nick DiPillo said. “That takes its toll, it makes it really difficult.”
Though the third quarter saw the defense slip, the Pirates still produced on offense. Samuels dazzled with a highlight reel play as she dribbled through the legs of a Villanova defender. The sophomore finished with 28 points and nine rebounds on the night.
At the end of the third, the Pirates still held a slim 42-38 lead. However, Villanova showed ferocity on its offensive half of the court and eventually took the lead on a three-point shot by Mary Gedaka. It was Gedaka’s only three on the night, and she finished with 16 total points for the Wildcats.
Several times down the stretch, Seton Hall made defensive stops, but the team’s inability to come down with defensive rebounds cost them the game. With one minute remaining, Jekot delivered the dagger three that crushed hopes of a Seton Hall comeback.
Fountain led the Pirates in scoring with 28 points, and she also brought down 13 rebounds to complete the double-double.
Redshirt sophomore Taylor Brown did not see playing time Friday due to an undisclosed injury suffered during pre-game workouts that made her unavailable for the game tonight.
The loss drops the Pirates to 2-5 in Big East play and 10-8 overall. The team’s next game will come against Georgetown on Sunday, Jan. 14 at 1 p.m. in Walsh Gym.
Dalton Allison can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @DaltonAllison4.