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Seton Hall WBB struggles against hot-shooting St. John’s squad in loss

Coming into Sunday night’s national televised showdown on FS1 between Seton Hall (12-8, 5-4 Big East) and St. John’s (13-7, 6-3 Big East) at the Walsh Gymnasium, both teams sported identical records, tied in the Big East Conference standings and having won two in a row.


There was a moment of silence for Kobe Bryant and all the ones lost in the helicopter crash on Sunday morning.  Once the game started, the game was tight in front of a loud and boisterous crowd. Despite the Red Storm shooting a sizzling 58 percent from the field, the Pirates trailed by just two points at 16-14 in the first quarter.


St. John’s did not cool off in the second quarter, upping their field goal percentage to 66 percent, hitting 10 out of 15 shots from the perimeter including four three to boost the lead to double digits. Eventually Seton Hall would enter the locker room trailing by 10, 40-30.


Pirates senior forward Shadeen Samuels led the way in the second half, scoring 11 of her game high 24 points. Despite outrebounding St. John’s 22-13, 22-20 points in the paint and 13-0 second chance points, the Pirates could not stop St. John’s. The Red Storm shot 63 percent from the field and held a 14-3 advantage in bench points.


The third quarter did not fare well  as St. John’s burst out to a 9-0 run.  Seton Hall’s offense went ice cold with the first points of the quarter not coming until six and half minutes in.  The Red Storm stretched the lead to 58-34 with less than four minutes remaining. Seton Hall found themselves in a 63-41 hole by the end of the third quarter.


However, the tide began to turn in the final quarter with Seton Hall ripping off a 16-0 run to start the quarter. A minor altercation between the teams lit a spark under the Pirates on the offensive and defensive ends. They employed a tenacious full court and man-to-man defense that forced a number of Red Storm turnovers.


St. John’s went back to its bread and butter which was the three-point shot, canning back-to-back jumpers from downtown to expand the lead to 69-59. The Pirates were unable to get any closer and fell 82-66. The Red Storm had five players in double figures, led by leading scorer Qadashah Hoppie, who tallied 20 points. For Seton Hall Alexis Lewis added 16 points and 10 rebounds while Samuels grabbed a team high 12 rebounds.


A very angry and frustrated Head Coach Anthony Bozzella afterwards;  “They shot 62 percent from the field, our offense was horrific and I have not seen us playing like this since weeks ago. They hit 3 three-pointers at the shot clock buzzers. Are we going to wake up and know there is one second on the shot clock and back up and let them make a three.We got pushed and shoved around, everything we talked about we did the opposite. When you come out and play tentative and you allow them to get into a rhythm. Our kids missed so many shots and put your head down. To put forth an effort like that is disgusting and unacceptable”.


“Shadeen Samuels played like a warrior out there. Shadeen carried us, played like an All-American today and best player in the league. She played 40 minutes on one leg”.


Seton Hall hits the road for two games, starting on Friday January 31st at Georgetown (4-16, 1-8 Big East Conference) with tip-off set for 7:00 p.m. On January 5th the Pirates defeated the Hoyas 79-60. On Sunday February 2nd Seton Hall faces off against Villanova (11-9, 5-4 Big East Conference) at 1:00 p.m. The Wildcats snapped the Pirates four-game winning streak on January 3rd 61-55.


“Georgetown is a physical team and Villanova has two great players along with three others” Bozzella said. “This is the story with Seton Hall basketball is inconsistent. Great crowd, national TV and we came out and played horrific”.

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