Round one of the Big East Tournament began on Friday, and Seton Hall was tasked with taking down No. 11 Butler. Continuing on their dominant run, the Pirates stole the show in the second half and came out victorious in Uncasville, Connecticut by a score of 58-39.
Sidney Cooks lead a 9-0 run for Seton Hall to open the game, though the team lost its fire soon after. A 3-minute dry spell, snapped by Cooks herself, with 3:01 remaining in the first frame, allowed the Bulldogs to pull within 3. Lauren Park-Lane connected on a last-second shot to extend the lead to five, and The Hall took a 14-9 advantage into the second quarter.
Butler kept the game alive, shooting 53.8% from the field for the subsidiary 10 minutes compared to Seton Hall’s 27.8%. The Hall held on to a 20-14 lead with about 7 minutes remaining in the half, though a 10-2 Butler surge gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game, 24-22. Cooks bodied in a layup down low to tie the game and send the Pirates into the half, 24-24.
The Hall began the half as the team they proved to be in their February run. A Cooks three pointer sparked an 11-0 run out of the break that was highlighted by back-to-back triples from Park-Lane. Seton Hall held a 35-24 lead with just under five minutes. Butler broke the run with consecutive layups from Celena Taborn, though they were the only two baskets the Bulldogs made for the quarter. The Pirates closed the quarter with 5 points and held Butler to just 2-9 shooting in the third frame to take a 40-28 lead into the final quarter.
The fourth quarter brought Seton Hall’s best brand of basketball on both ends. An 8-0 surge for The Hall gave the team a commanding 18-point advantage, and the Bulldogs never came within 15 points for the remainder of the game. The Pirates went 8-for-11 in the final quarter of play, and they sailed to a 58-39 victory in Uncasville.
Lauren Park-Lane led the way for Seton Hall with 21 points and 2 steals, though surprisingly did not record an assist after breaking the Big East’s single season record for assists. Sidney Cooks followed with 13 points and 8 rebounds, and Mya Bembry added 12 points and 8 rebounds herself. Andra Espinoza-Hunter had a solid 7 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals. 20 turnovers from the Pirates was the deciding factor in this game.
Seton Hall continues their hot streak, improving to 18-11 overall and winning 10 of its last 11 games. They will return to the hardwood Saturday, March 5th at 9:30 pm to continue in the Big East tournament as they face No. 3 Creighton.