Alexis Lewis and Shadeen Samuels provide formidable one-two punch in 72-60 win over Marquette
After a thrilling 65-63 victory at Georgetown on a late bucket from Shadeen Samuels (25 points), the Seton Hall Pirates women’s basketball team returned to the Walsh Gymnasium to face off against a streaking Marquette (17-7, 8-4 Big East) squad that had won five in a row. The last time the two teams met on January 12 the Golden Eagles won handily 81-60.
A back and forth contest early on, the headline was the red-hot shooting from beyond the arc by Seton Hall senior Alexis Johnson, who three consecutive threes. Held scoreless in the first game at Marquette, Lewis dropped in 13 points in the first quarter as the Pirates built a 22-14 advantage. The lead would steadily increase to double digits in the second quarter with Seton Hall pushing the tempo in transition.
Samuels reached double figures with 11 points by the four-minute mark as Seton Hall held a commanding 35-18 lead. Even with Marquette answering with a 6-0 spurt, the Pirates went into the locker room up 40-25. The Pirates shot a blistering 51 percent from the field, winning points in the paint 20-10, points off turnovers 13-7 and fast break points 11-2. Lewis finished with 18 points and five threes.
In the third quarter, the Golden Eagles managed to find their offensive rhythm by pounding the ball inside. The Pirates had no answer in containing 6’2 Lauren Van Kleunen, who netted 11 of her 15 points on the night, cutting the gap to single digits. With two and half minutes remaining, the score was 49-41. Heading into the fourth quarter Seton Hall led 55-45, but Marquette responded by cutting the deficit to 59-51 with less than seven minutes to go.
However, the Pirates free throw shooting came through in the clutch, knocking down 11 of 15 from the charity stripe. Seton Hall played tenacious man-to-man defense that led to a couple of steals. The result was fast break points, with Seton Hall expanding the margin to 67-51 with five minutes remaining. Seton Hall eventually cruised to the 72-60 win.
Lewis delivered a game high 28 points, draining 6 out of 7 treys while Samuels totaled 17 points. The Pirates shot 48 percent from the field while limiting Marquette to 38 percent. The team forced the Golden Eagles into committing 21 turnovers. Seton Hall held Marquette leading scorer Selena Lott to 11 points.
Seton Hall Head Coach Anthony Bozzella on the win, “I thought this was one of the most complete defensive efforts we had all year. . . Physical, tough, short-handed with kids being sick and these kids really battled. I was really pleased how we bought into our defensive effort, how hard we played defensively and offensively we cut and moved. Alexis had a great game and Shadeen as well. I told our point guard Lauren Park-Lane this is one of the best games she has played all year. She controlled the tempo, fearless out there with big steals and her defensive presence all over the place and very proud of her today”.
“Marquette is going to bang you, hit you, screen and push and shove you and we didn’t back down. . . When we played at their place they embarrassed us. We drove the ball and didn’t back down and a kid like Femi (coming off the bench) gave us a huge lift. We got to get different contributions from different kids each game and this is a team game. One of things our bench wore them down really important. The keys were rebounding, fast break points and three-pointers. They had one and we had to double it up”.
“It’s hard, a physical tough game when you play them and we were physical and tough against them . . . The two steals when it was an 8 or 10 point game changed the whole game. Mya (Jackson) and Des (Elmore) diving on the floor and led to the steal by Shadeen. They want to win and dedicated and that is what we’re trying to accomplish here at Seton Hall”.
“Our crowd was amazing, what a great crowd and so happy and can’t thank our fans enough. . .We’re sold out on Sunday and excited for that and going to be a great event. We put ourselves in a position to take a step in the standings and let’s see if we can do it”.
Next up for Seton Hall (15-4, 8-4 Big East) is a match-up against No. 14 ranked DePaul(21-3, 11-3) on Sunday February 9th at the Walsh Gymnasium, with tip-off set for 1:00 p.m. The last time the teams played on January 10th the Blue Demons emerged victorious 85-68.
Bozzella on Sunday’s showdown vs. DePaul, “We have to come with the same intensity and guard them and be locked in. This team is going to shoot 40 three’s on Sunday and we have to be able to get the long rebounds and do what we’re supposed to do. To play DePaul on Sunday is a different type of defense and they going to shoot in 10 seconds and going to take 100 shots”.
Sunil Sunder Raj
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