Coming off an upset loss to Albany on Sunday, the Pirates looked to bounce back with a statement win against No. 3 University of Connecticut in the Huskies’ first game back in the Big East since 2013.
Looking slow out the gates, the Pirates’ biggest deficit in the first quarter was 13 points, but a late push in the second quarter, led by Lauren Park-Lane who had 19 points at the half, brought the score to within eight going into half-time. It was another rough night from beyond the arc for the Pirates as they finished the half having shot 1-13.
UConn freshman star Paige Bueckers, after only scoring 6 in the first half, exploded for 19 points in the second half to finish the game with 25 points. Big East Preseason Player of the Year Christyn Williams also hit the 20-point mark and finished with 21 to lead the Huskies to a 92-65 win at the Walsh Gymnasium.
For the Pirates, the only standout was Park-Lane who scored a career-high 29 points and led both teams in scoring. She shot 9-10 from the line and added six assists to her career-game. This was a striking change from her day against Albany in which she shot 6-16 from the field and 2-6 from the free throw line.
“She was distraught after the loss on Sunday,” Seton Hall head coach Anthony Bozzella said. “So instead of coming in and having a bad practice on Monday… she worked hard. The kid has the heart of a lion.”
This was Bozzella’s second game back on the sideline after being quarantined with COVID-19 in November and then hospitalized with an immediate case of pneumonia.
The Pirates’ biggest issue was the lack of help Park-Lane received on the offensive end, as the Pirates’ second leading scorer was Desiree Elmore with only 11 points. UConn had four different players break this threshold.
“We’ve played 4 games in 8 days,” Bozzella said. “We weren’t supposed to play UConn until Thursday.”
“This is a crazy year, nothing’s going to be perfect. But if we don’t work together as a league, then that’s just not right either.”
The Pirates now have a five-day break from games to find their rhythm as a unit and recharge for when they host Marquette on Saturday.
Brendan Balsamo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @brenbal.