Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Guest Contributor Ray Floriani: Army Women at Seton Hall

by Ray Floriani

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ -- Love good defense? Then Walsh Gym on the Seton Hall campus on Tuesday night was the place to be, as Army and Seton Hall battled in a non-conference women's basketball matchup. Offensively both sides had looks but for the most part, points were earned and penetrating was not for the faint of heart. Seton Hall prevailed 50-40 to improve to 3-2 while Army fell to 1-3.

The Pre-game Shootaround:
Both teams entered the game with rather low offensive efficiencies. On the other side, their respective opponents were not exactly ringing up fantastic numbers. Chalk it up to defense.

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Seton Hall came into the contest averaging 72 possessions (a brisk pace). Army was a bit more deliberate averaging 65 possessions per game. So game pace would have to be watched closely.

The first four minutes saw at least two things that were an Army concern going in. Both teams had seven possessions over the first four minutes. Army already had three turnovers which matched their point total. On the other end Army was having trouble keeping Kandice Green off the boards. The 6-1 junior had three offensive boards in those first four minutes.

Efficiency at the "four"
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What was the story line of the first half?
Offense, or lack of it. The Hall led 22-20 and the offensive efficiencies were quite below average.

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Your VBTN contributor does not normally get a 'Royal' greeting.
Early attendees were greeted by the Hall cheerleaders

Wrapping it up:
In a 67 possession game the efficiencies:

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The Four Factors:

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The Army TO% rate, again is not a misprint. Army turned the ball over 27 times. Army coach Dave Magarity credited Seton Hall, "for getting at us defensively especially with their press." What upset Magarity more was the fact Army has a senior backcourt which accounted for 11 of Army's turnovers. "(Nalini) Hawkins is a four year starter at the point," Magarity said. "We just need better production from her and other veterans." Hawkins led Army with 10 points but was guilty of 5 turnovers.

The two teams had difficulty scoring. A recurring theme, for both, in this young season. "That's our story to date," Seton Hall coach Anne Donovan said. "We have had trouble putting points up every game, the positive thing is our defense has been very good." Donovan threw several defensive looks and some full court pressure to keep Army off balance.

Donovan also mentioned the Pirates got a good second half spark from Jasmine Crew, Ka-Deidre Simmons and Jazzmine Johnson. Especially after Army had a four point lead early in that final stanza. Crew was a go to player (game high 16 points) providing offense when needed. Simmons played solid defense and scored in transition and hit a three as the Hall made a run to get breathing room. Johnson scored 6 points while energizing the Hall defense with 3 steals.

Despite the offensive struggles, Donovan sees better offensive days ahead. "We are working on eliminating the turnovers," she said. The Hall entered with a 26% TO Rate, even a small improvement is a plus. "If Kandice (Green) finishes at the rim that will open things more for our perimeter players." Green scored 10 points adding 7 boards but was 2 of 10 from the field.

Magarity is also dealing with offensive woes. "We shot 8 of 17 from the line," he said. That's a big difference in a game like this." Another factor was Erin Anthony, a Patriot League all-Conference forward, who was held to 7 points on 3 of 10 shooting. Again credit the defense for denying her few, if any, any good looks.

Game was a homecoming of sorts. Army senior guard Laura Baranek spent her freshman year at the Hall before transferring to West Point. She led the Pirate softball team in hitting (.277) that year. Seton Hall assistant Ty Grace served on Magarity's staff at West Point before joining the Hall last season.

Hall and Army in action at Walsh Gym

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