SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - On Saturday, Seton Hall had an opportunity to even its Big East record. The opportunity and game was lost 75-69 to Butler at Walsh Gymnasium. The three key factors:
Coaches preach about ‘winning' the first four minutes after the half. In this case it was three minutes. Trailing by 11 at the break, Butler scored on its first five possessions of the second half going on an 11-2 run over those first three minutes. That run changed the momentum of the game.
Shooting well and stopping your opponent from doing the same can cure many sins. Butler had a 27% turnover rate to that of the Hall's 13%. They were beaten 19-8 in transition points and 23-13 in points off turnovers. The Bulldogs did shoot a 56% eFG percentage while holding the Pirates to 37%.
A different game the second half. Butler coach Beth Couture will be the first to admit. "We executed much better the second half." The Bulldogs in the stretch rebounded better and handled the Hall pressure, that bothered them so much the latter part of the first twenty minutes.
Butler (7-7, 2-1) was paced by game leading scorer Daress McClung (24 points). Seton Hall (9-4, 0-2) received 21 points from Tabatha Richardson-Smith.
Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzella said, "I am naturally disappointed but pleased overall with the effort. They (Butler) took the second half lead and we could have folded. We battled back to get the lead but couldn't get it done. That was a microcosm of who we are. We will battle and not give up."
Bozzella knows, getting the win would have been a momentum builder as the Hall takes to the road for games at Marquette and Villanova.
Old faces in new places
Noticed Butler had a starter at guard, Taylor Schippers, from Houston. Schippers, a junior, scored 17 points while adding seven rebounds. Afterwards I asked how she wound up from the Southwest and headed to Butler.
"Remember the coach at Oklahoma State (Kurt Budke) who dies in the plane crash (November 2011) - he recruited me," she said. "I was at Oklahoma State and the new coach and I did not get along with."
Schippers decided to transfer and weighing possibilities took a look at Butler.
"I visited (Butler) and fell in love with the school," she said. "The program and student body are one big family."
A football fan Schippers stayed up to watch the Oklahoma State-Missouri Cotton Bowl the night before the Hall game. "I was brought up on Big XII football,' she said smiling.
Butler adjusting to life in the new Big East
Butler coach Beth Couture was asked about the sudden change from the Atlantic Ten to the Big East.
"The Atlantic Ten and Big East are both physical and have athletes," she said. "The Atlantic Ten was a very good league and we enjoyed it. I think with the Big East we will have new challenges because every night it seems you will see a different style."
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