Seton Hall began the Women’s National Invitational Tournament with a huge victory against Fairleigh Dickinson behind Lauren Park-Lane’s game-high 29 points.
The Pirates started slow on both ends. Park-Lane nailed a triple to give the women’s basketball team their first lead early, though Fairleigh Dickinson pulled away late in the quarter after hitting a pair of shots behind the arc. Seton Hall trailed 21-13 at the conclusion of the first frame, and were outrebounded 15-to-5. The Knights’ Aniya Bell had 11 points early.
An 11-2 burst capped off by Sidney Cooks from The Hall gave them the lead once again, 24-23. Fairleigh Dickinson repelled with an 8-0 run of their own. Mya Jackson knocked down a three of her own and a steal-to-layup to pull the team back in and trail by just one, 32-31, headed to the break.
Park-Lane and Jackson each had 9 points in the first half, though FDU’s Bell still led all scorers with 13 points. While the rebound advantage was not in their favor, Mya Bembry pulled down 7 off of the glass in the first half.
Things remained in the Knights’ hands until late in the third quarter when The Hall took over. Fairleigh Dickinson shot 1-5 in the last 3:36 of the third frame and allowed Seton Hall to take a 6-point lead headed into the fourth quarter, 51-45.
Over the course of the last 10 minutes, Seton Hall outscored the Knights 16-0 behind 9 points from Lauren Park Line and FDU shooting 0-for-8 from behind-the-arc and 0-for-12 overall. The Pirates would extend their lead to a commanding 20 points after Park-Lane stepped back for a huge three-pointer. Seton Hall went on to win in dominant fashion, 67-45.
Lauren Park-Lane was the X factor with 29 points and 3 assists. Cooks grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds to go with 10 points for her 11th double-double of the season, while Bembry added 6 points and 11 rebounds. Fairleigh Dickinson’s Aniya Bell finished with 17 points and 6 rebounds.
Seton Hall moves on to the second round of the WNIT for the first time since 2014 with the victory against the Knights. They will face VCU, who beat Stony Brook to advance Friday, at Walsh Gymnasium on Monday, March 21st at 7:00 pm.