Seton Hall women’s basketball dropped its final regular season game 72-68 to the DePaul Blue Demons on Feb. 25 during Senior Day. The game was the last of the regular season and the final home game for senior JaQuan Jackson.
The Pirates got out in front early against the first-place Blue Demons. Jackson hit three three-pointers to pull the Pirates ahead 20-15 at the end of the first quarter.
Then DePaul came out firing in the second quarter, outscoring the Pirates by 16 points. The Blue Demons shot 6-of-12 from beyond the arc and surged to a 39-28 halftime lead.
Seton Hall immediately responded in the third quarter on three-point shots from Inja Butina and Jackson, but DePaul continued to dominate from deep. A three-pointer from Ashton Millender put the Blue Demons ahead by double digits once again with 7:06 left on the clock in the quarter. Seton Hall cut the lead to single digits thanks to Nicole Jimenez, who put up 10 points in the third quarter alone. Heading into the final frame, the Pirates found themselves down by just six points.
The Blue Demons once again took a double-digit lead early in the fourth, thanks to three-pointers from Amarah Coleman and Tanita Allen. Then it was the Pirates’ turn to respond, thanks to consecutive shots from Taylor Brown, and DePaul’s lead was cut to just four after a three from Jimenez with 2:30 to go. Both teams went on a scoring drought until the 23-second mark, when Seton Hall was forced to foul. A seasoned DePaul team knocked down its free throws, and Seton Hall did not break through to retake the lead.
Jimenez led the way for the Pirates 16 points on 6-12 shooting, and Brown was right behind her with 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting and four rebounds. Jackson ended her final home game as a Pirate with 12 points, all coming from beyond the arc. Butina also had 12 points to go along with six assists.
Despite the loss, head coach Tony Bozzella saw positives after a strong performance against a tough DePaul team.
“We did show a great amount of energy, effort and passion,” Bozzella said. “I give the girls a lot of credit. Hopefully, we can carry that passion and toughness forward into the Big East Tournament.”
While the Pirates did outscore DePaul in three of the four quarters, Bozzella is not concerned with moral victories.
“We’ve got to put together four quarters of being competitive,” Bozzella said. “We have fallen short in some games I felt we could have won, and I think we have to put together more of a concentrated week of practice and understand the game plan. I think if we do that, we have a chance to be more successful.”
With the Big East women’s Tournament bracket now set, No. 7 Seton Hall is scheduled to play No. 10 Xavier on Saturday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m., with the winner facing the second-seeded Blue Demons on Sunday at 7 p.m.
Matt Lapolla can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MatthewLapolla.