After an unexpected day of rest following the postponement of Wednesday's away game against Creighton, the Seton Hall women's basketball team came into Friday's game against Marquette looking refreshed. The Golden Eagles had a perfect 3-0 conference record but were handed their first conference loss of the season by the Pirates after standout performances from graduate transfer Andra Espinoza-Hunter and senior Desiree Elmore.
The Pirates got off to a quick start, stretching their lead to as big as 10 points midway through the first quarter. Espinoza-Hunter shot 2-for-2 from behind the arc and finished the quarter in double digit points at 10. Elmore got firing midway through the quarter after scoring two free throws while Lauren Park-Lane added seven points and three assists of her own.
Up 7 as the second quarter began, the lady Pirates did not look back as Espinoza-Hunter led them on a 14-0 run that saw them pull ahead of Marquette by as much as 19 points. Going into halftime, Seton Hall held a commanding lead of 42-26 after only allowing two field goals in the entire second quarter.
Espinoza-Hunter continued her lights-out scoring fas she shot 4-for-5 from three-point range in the third quarter. She led the team with 12 points that quarter with Elmore and Park-Lane adding a combined six points as the Pirates took a 14-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Surprisingly, the Pirates' last field goal of the game came just over a minute into the fourth quarter with Elmore hitting a jumper. Seton Hall dried up form the field shooting just 2-for-10 from the field and missing all six of their three-point shot attempts to close out the game. Marquette went on an 11-0 run to cut its deficit to just seven points with 5:50 left to play but the Pirates' 7-for-8 shooting from the free-throw line during the field goal drought was able to hold on for an 11-point win.
The veteran presence steered the ship to victory for the Pirates, as Espinoza-Hunter had a game-high 25 points and the senior Elmore tacked on another 20. Sophomore Lauren Park-Lane continued her season-long scoring tear with a 14-point performance and senior Jasmine Smith added another 10.
Now at 5-3 overall and 3-2 in conference play, the Pirates will look to stay hot and extend their two-game winning streak in their matchup against Butler on Sunday.
Brendan Balsamo can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @brenbal.