This season, the women’s basketball team will feature five seniors. The past two years, the senior classes only included two players, but now, veteran leadership will be a major part of a team looking to bounce back from a 16-16 record last season.
Barbara Johnson is one of the five following a transfer from Ole Miss. Before her time in Mississippi, she played at Chipola College, averaging 11.8 points on 43 percent shooting. In her last year at Chipola, she was First Team All-Conference. Coming out of high school in 2013, ESPN rated her as a four-star prospect, naming her the 95th best player in her class.
Alongside Johnson is Kaity Healy, who will be captain for the third straight year. Without even playing a game for the blue and white, Healy was named captain coming into her sophomore year, demonstrating her character to head coach Anthony Bozzella.
“She’s one of the smartest players I’ve ever coached,” Bozzella told Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press. “She epitomizes everything you would want in a student-athlete.”
Another stellar student-athlete for the Pirates is Inja Butina. An assist maestro hailing from Croatia, Butina is in her second year at South Orange after coming over from junior college. At the JUCO level, she was top-four in the country in assists during her freshmen and sophomore seasons. In her first campaign at Seton Hall, she finished sixth in the Big East in assists-per-game, continuing to establish her repertoire as an elite facilitator. Butina is also a big contributor on defense, as she finished fifth in the Big East in steals.
Another former transfer in her second season at Seton Hall, Nicole Jimenez will also have a large role to play this year. At Broward College, Jimenez averaged 15.2 points per game in her freshman year and 19.2 points-per-game in her sophomore year. Last season, Jimenez played in every game for the Pirates, starting in 12 games and averaging nearly 20 minutes per game.
Alexis Lewis transferred to Seton Hall but will have to sit out the 2018-19 season due to eligibility rules.
At Iona, Lewis was a named to the All-Conference Team three times. Her most notable season came during her sophomore year, where she was named First Team All-Conference after averaging 15.9 points and 8.3 rebounds.
“Lexi is a gifted scorer with deep shooting range as well as an explosive rebounder and defender,” Bozzella said. “We have no doubts that her skill-set will translate to great success in the Big East as she concludes what has already been a tremendous career”.
The last time Seton Hall had this big of a senior class was when they had six during the 2015-16 season, and the Pirates ended with a 23-9 record that year. With the new set of upperclassmen, the new season has the bearings to be a successful one.
Robert Fallo can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @robert_fallo.