When asked about how her team needs to improve after their blowout win against Wagner on Friday night, Seton Hall interim head coach Lauren DeFalco said that the team must improve their overall defense. In DeFalco’s eyes, a poor shooting day was bound to come, but even she could not predict that day would be their next game.
As Albany strolled into Walsh Gymnasium on Sunday on a last-minute scheduled game, so did Pirates head coach Anthony Bozzella after testing positive for COVID-19 three weeks ago. After two consecutive 40+ point wins against mid-major schools, there was no way Bozzella was expecting the performance that was to come from his team.
Albany Great Danes came out swinging from the start. They immediately shot 6-6 from the field and got out to an early 19-15 lead that remained for the entirety of the first quarter. The Pirates battled back and held a one-point lead at halftime, but a 27-point fourth quarter from Albany dug the Pirates their grave.
Seton Hall, however, was shorthanded not only with Femi Funeus likely out for the season and Desiree Elmore day-to-day with an ankle injury. The ever-reliable Lauren Park-Lane also had a tough night, shooting 2-6 from the free throw line and going 6-16 from the field. She was representative of the whole team as the Pirates went 6-13 from the free throw line and shot 37% overall from the field.
“Albany showed up from the beginning, and they just punched us in the face and we were never able to catch back up,” DeFalco said.
DeFalco also added that the team’s focus was already on Tuesday’s Big East opener against No. 3 University of Connecticut as opposed to the game at hand.
“The players were thinking about Tuesday as opposed to handling business today and that’s what came back and bit them in the butt,” DeFalco said.
As for the team’s struggle to score against Albany, DeFalco attributed the off night to the team’s fatigue from playing three games in six days after a 14-day quarantine period.
No. 3 UConn in two days will be a tough test to see how quickly the Pirates can snap out of Sunday’s scoring drought and refine the defensive frailties DeFalco and Bozzella have talked about this season.
Brendan Balsamo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @brenbal.