The Seton Hall women’s basketball non-conference schedule was released a few weeks ago, and with it comes a few daunting games for head coach Anthony Bozzella and his squad.
Most notably, the University of Connecticut juggernaut team visits Walsh Gymnasium on Dec. 3. A year ago, on Dec. 8, the top-ranked Huskies has the Pirates visit them in a game that saw the Pirates lose by a final of 99-61.
In the NCAA Tournament in 2019, Geno Auriemma’s squad lost in the Final Four to top-seed Notre Dame, who eventually fell to Baylor in the championship. In a down year for the usually dominant Huskies, they will certainly be looking for a revenge tour, and the Pirates stand in the path. The game will also be an equal treat for Seton Hall local fans, as the only ranked opponent to come to town last year was No. 8 Marquette on Feb. 17. Big East play will give Seton Hall fans another chance at a ranked opponent in 2019, but UConn provides Seton Hall with a blockbuster non-conference headliner.
As for other matchups, the Pirates begin the season with two routine exhibition games on Oct. 30 and Nov. 6 against Jefferson and Sacred Heart, respectively.
The regular season kicks off with a three-game homestand against Fairfield, VCU, and Princeton. The Pirates have a chance to get off on the right foot in familiar territory, a luxury that will need to be utilized in an important year for the program.
The middle of the season sees Seton Hall head to the Bahamas to face Georgia Tech and one of Rutgers or Vanderbilt in the Junkanoo Jam. If it is Rutgers, Seton Hall will have the chance to avenge a two-year old loss to its cross-state rivals, as in 2017, Rutgers defeated the Pirates 70-45.
After that, the Pirates play the aforementioned University of Connecticut before traveling to Iona to take on new Seton Hall President Dr. Joseph Nyre’s former school.
Finally, before Christmas break, on Dec. 20, Seton Hall sees Lafayette come in to close out non-conference play. Big East play, which has yet to be announced, will commence after that.
Seton Hall has high hopes in the Big East this year, especially when being led by a veteran coach in Bozzella, the ever-dominant Shadeen Samuels, and a notable supporting cast. Alongside five freshman who are coming in and hoping to make an impact, the Pirates hope to find success in their non-conference schedule that will propel them to a tournament berth.
Last season, the team went 15-16, including 7-11 in conference play, before bowing out in the first round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament to Toledo. Although making it to the tournament is a success, the team surely is aiming larger and looking to get further in 2019-20, and the non-conference schedule is an indication of that and strong early test before the Big East schedule begins in December.
Kevin Kopf can be reached at email@example.com. Find him on Twitter @KevinKopfHWH.