by Ray Floriani
SOUTH ORANGE, NJ -- The Seton Hall women’s team entered its home opener following a 64-57 loss at Florida Gulf Coast. The opposition, highly regarded temple, was also 0-1 but coming off a competitive 84-75 setback at the hands of 7th ranked Ohio state. An arduous task seemed in order for the Hall. They passed, in convincing fashion as the Pirates upset Temple 72-59 at Walsh Gymnasium on Tuesday evening.
|The efficiency in a 77 possession game...|
The Four Factors...
Temple raced out to an 11-3 lead four minutes into the game. Seton Hall never hit the panic button and stayed with their game plan. They also stayed with their mindset, very evident the full forty minutes, defending and playing hard. “It all starts with defense,” said Pirate coach Anne Donovan. “From day one we have been focused on defense.”
Donovan noted a key was the hall employong a 2-3 matchup zone midway through the first half that confused Temple allowed the pirates to get back in and keep the game at a two possession difference. At the half the Hall trailed 30-26.
The four factors recap did an admirable job of telling the story tonight. Free throw rate was significantly in Seton Hall’s favor. “At the half we had taken four free throw attempts (hitting two),” Donovan said. “During halftime we stressed not just settling for jump shots but attacking the rim. That gets you to the line.” The Pirates finished with a 24 of 35 mark from the charity stripe. That 35 attempts figure is a bit inflated as Temple was in a fouling mode to extend the game the last few minutes.
The Owls owned an edge on the boards as offensive rebounding percentage notes. That is something Donovan spoke about post game as an area to address.
Turnover rate is another telling stat. The Pirates 24% TO Rate was actually an ‘improvement’ over the 37% mark they were guilty of in the loss at Florida Gulf Coast. Again, playing at a quick tempo (they had 78 possessions in the opener) will lend itself to turnovers but it is an area Donovan is looking to improve.
Jasmine Crew led the way with 16 points for the Hall. Kandice Green had a fine 15 point 12 rebound night. “Kandice is a player we challenge to get a double double every night,” Donovan said of her 6-1 junior forward. “She has the ability to be an All-Big East player.”
Temple had three players in double figures with Natasha Thames, Kristen McCarthy and Owedia Wallace scoring 13 points each.
Interesting note from the shot charts: Seton Hall did not score a field goal the final six minutes of the game. The Pirates canned 10 free throws during that stretch. The Owls scored four field goals during that same time. Three of them were in transition as coach Tonya Cardoza’s club looked for easy hoops rather than setting up against the Hall half court defense.
Impressed with the play of Ka-Deidre Simmons. The freshman point guard out of nearby girls prep power Shabazz (Newark) High School, scored 10 points while handing out three assists in 27 minutes of relief. Simmons can score (she had a team high 19 in the opener) but chooses to run the team with like poise, defend extremely well and look for teammates. Simply, she has a court presence and savvy beyond her experience.
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surveys the floor prior to inbounding.
Several members of the Hall’s men’s team took in the game. At halftime, had the chance to chat with Jeremy Hazell. The Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands is next for the Hall men and Hazell is hoping to possibly face Xavier in the second round. “That (playing Xavier) is something I really would look forward to,” Hazell said, “but we are not taking Alabama (the first round opposition) lightly. They play in a tough conference (SEC) and will be a tough team for us to face.”
First few hundred fans (713 attended) received blue T-shirts with the slogan ’Reaching New Heights’. Dance team were handing them out at the entrance and one member gave me a shirt. Yours truly as a media member is impartial but I have to admit being a fan of what Anne Donovan has done thus far in South Orange.