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Villanova Outlasts Pirates in Big East Semifinals, 64-55

Seton Hall continued their journey to make their first Big East Tournament Championship since falling to DePaul in 2015. Despite a valiant effort, most notably 24 points from Lauren Park-Lane, the Pirates could not overtake Big East Player of the Year Maddy Siegrist and the Villanova Wildcats and were eliminated with a 64-55 loss on Sunday.

Five straight points from Sidney Cooks and a three-pointer from Park-Lane helped Seton Hall jump out to an 8-7 lead with 5:36 remaining in the first quarter. The team cooled off, though, only making two more field goals in the quarter to fuel a 16-4 Wildcat burst. Villanova took a 23-12 lead into the second frame.

Both teams struggled offensively for a combined seven field goals and 25% shooting from the field in the second quarter. Cooks was unstoppable, as she scored 8 of Seton Hall’s 9 points and outscored Villanova by herself. The Wildcats’ lead still stood, though, and The Hall went into the break trailing 30-21.

Cooks led Seton Hall with 13 points and 6 rebounds. Park-Lane followed with 7 points on 50% shooting. Villanova and the Pirates struggled from behind-the-arc, shooting 31% and 20%, respectively. Only 4 free-throws were shot through the first half.

An 11-4 run out of the gate for Villanova that was capped off by a Brianna Herlihy triple extended their lead to 16. A 7-0 Seton Hall run orchestrated by 5 points from Park-Lane cut the lead to single digits. The Pirates and Wildcats traded baskets for the last 4:04 of the third quarter, and Villanova took a 48-38 advantage into the final quarter.

The fourth quarter set a flame under Bozzella’s Pirates. Villanova scored the first 3 points of the quarter, and The Hall made a final push, holding the Wildcats without a field goal over 5 minutes  and a 13-4 surge. The lead never got any closer, though, and Seton Hall went on to lose 64-55 after a spectacular push.

Lauren Park-Lane scored a game-high 24 points alongside Villanova’s Siegrist, who also had 14 rebounds. Sidney Cooks followed with 19 points and 7 rebounds and Andra Espinoza-Hunter added 12 points and 3 steals. Herlihy had 17 points and 8 rebounds for the Wildcats.

Seton Hall finishes Big East play with a 12-8 record and 19-12 overall. Though the Big East Tournament has concluded for The Hall, it is expected Lauren Park-Lane and the Pirates will compete in the NCAA Tournament or the WNIT.

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