Resilient Seton Hall cannot dig out of second-half hole

The Seton Hall women’s basketball team lost to Villanova on Sunday afternoon, 59-53, at the Jake Nevin Field House in Villanova, Pa. In a game where the Pirates trailed by as much as 18, a late run fueled in part by Selena Philoxy helped cut the Villanova deficit to six, but ultimately, Seton Hall could not cap off the comeback.

JaQuan Jackson had 4 points and 4 rebounds in the first quarter, but did not get much help as both teams got off to slow starts. Jackson finished the game with a team-high 13 points, but struggled from deep, shooting 0-for-3.

Photo via SHU Athletics

After a first quarter that only separated the two teams by three, the second quarter was all Villanova, as the Wildcats started out on a 13-2 run, thanks to three three-pointers. Seton Hall was, however, able to finish strong, keeping Villanova within 11 at the half, 29-18.

In the third quarter, the Pirates continued to keep the Wildcats within reach, thanks to strong play from Philoxy and Jackson. The Wildcats also struggled immensely from the free-throw line, shooting 25 percent, including a 0-for-6 stretch in the second half.

Seton Hall headed into the fourth quarter down 46-34, and put together a strong finish in the final ten minutes of play, as they outscored the Wildcats, 19-13.  Nicole Jimenez and Kaela Hilaire played huge on both the defensive and offensive side of the ball, helping cut the lead to seven points with five minutes remaining. However, the Pirates never got closer than six, with Villanova holding on for a 59-53 victory.

Philoxy played a huge role in getting the Pirates to within six points, as the freshman recorded her first collegiate double-double, with a career-high in points, 12, and rebounds, 10. Philoxy helped the Pirates dominate in the paint, as Seton Hall outscored Villanova 36-22 in the painted area.

Hilaire added 10 points and 6 rebounds herself, as the sophomore guard came up with a few crucial baskets down the stretch. Despite her best efforts, though, the Pirates could not make it a one possession game in the fourth quarter.

Seton Hall now sees itself at 15-11 and 7-8 in the Big East. The Pirates are currently in sixth place in the Big East standings, only one game back from St. John’s, who is next on the schedule. The Pirates will travel to Carnescca Arena on Feb. 16 with a chance to steal fifth place, with tip-off set for 7 p.m.

Mat Mlodzinski can be reached at mat.mlodzinski@student.shu.edu or on Twitter @Mlodzinski_15.