Success from beyond the arc fuels Pirates’ winning streak

Aging men in barber shops talk about a time when basketball was played in the paint. Offenses revolved around the center and the two hand set shot and the “skyhook” were king. The three-point shot did not exist yet and taking a long-range shot was unheard of. These old tales seem crazy to young basketball fans in 2020. Three-pointers are a crucial element of the modern game, and players like Steph Curry, Kyle Korver and Ray Allen have made a career out of the trifecta.

Basketball teams live and die by the three-point shot all too often in the 21st century. Myles Powell’s threes buoy the Seton Hall men’s basketball team. The last loss to Rutgers featured a dismal three-point percentage and the hot streak that followed that debacle has seen improved marksmanship from Myles Cale, Jared Rhoden and Quincy McKnight.

The women’s team has also seen highs and lows this year in back-to-back blowout losses to DePaul and Marquette and their current two-game win streak.

Photo via SHU Athletics

The Pirates saw some early season stumbles in December as star Shadeen Samuels missed four games with an injury. When Samuels returned against UConn Dec. 5, the Pirates went 13-for-34 from beyond the arc in the nationally televised with the Huskies, the gold standard of women’s basketball and a new Big East foe as of next year. Five threes from Mya Jackson and three from Lauren Park-Lane kept the Pirates in it for three quarters and once the threes stopped falling, UConn gradually took the lead and won, 92-78.

The Pirates opened Big East play with wins over Butler and Xavier. Against Butler, Seton Hall shot 11-for-31 from three and were led by Barbara Johnson, who finished with 18 points (including three threes) and Alexis Lewis’ 17 points, which included three three-pointers. The Xavier win saw the Pirates shoot 12-for-27 from three, seven of which came from the hot hand of Mya Jackson, who finished with 25 points.

Decreased production from long distance temporarily sunk the Pirates’ ship in the early days of 2020. In a 85-68 loss to DePaul, only six threes dropped for Seton Hall and an even worse performance followed against Marquette at 3-for-15) from three.

However, a return home enlivened the Pirates shooters this past weekend. The Pirates shot 9-for-18 from distance in the Jan. 17 82-70 win over Creighton. Lewis finished with 18 points, including two triples, and Lauren Park-Lane added a career high 15 points, including three three-pointers.

That game’s performance paled in comparison to the shooting exploits on Jan. 19, which saw the Pirates make 14 of 23 three-point attempts in a 97-55 drubbing of the Friars. Familiar contributors like Lewis and Samuels stepped up but new faces also contributed. Freshman McKenna Hofschild hit three three-pointers off the bench and transfer Alexia Allesch added two more to help the Pirates cause.

While the 2019-20 women’s basketball season has been an erratic one thus far due to injuries and streaky shooting, the Pirates have a chance to live up to preseason expectations if the threes keep falling.

Matthew Collins can be reached at matthew.collins@student.shu.edu.

Author: Matthew Collins

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