Seton Hall's comeback effort not enough in 62-57 loss to Villanova

Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzella getting vocal during a time out. - Photo by Ray Floriani.

Villanova got its fifth win in a row on Sunday at Seton Hall to help keep themselves at the top of the Big East. Meanwhile, Seton Hall is still working on changing the culture.

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Villanova avenged an early season loss to Seton Hall, defeating the Pirates 62-57 at Walsh Gym on Sunday. The visiting Wildcats built a 22 point lead only to see it whittle down to a two possession game in the stretch before regrouping to pull out the contest.

Seton Hall used an extended zone the second half cheating out on the outside shooters. The move by Pirate coach Tony Bozzella was crucial in forcing stops while the offense was able to get something going. In the stretch Taylor Holeman hit a few big jumpers to keep the Hall at bay before Lauren Buford buried a crucial trey so basically seal the deal. Villanova improved to 8-4 in conference while the Hall is 4-7.

The numbers of note:

Villanova

Seton Hall

Possessions

66

67

Offensive Efficiency

94

85

eFG %

47

37

FT Rate

33

33

OREB %

21

33

To Rate

14

16

The offensive rebounding percentage was a significant plus for Seton Hall. That work on the boards aided the offense and was instrumental in allowing the Pirates to make their second half run. That efficiency tells the tales of Seton Hall's struggles on the offensive end.

Once again, the Hall was nearly empty from three shooting 1-for-9 (11%). Villanova, on the other end, fired 7-for-28 (25%). Not a great percentage but enough to get the Wildcats in the win column.

Great effort, poor execution for Seton Hall

Bozzella was pleased with the comeback effort but not in offensive execution. Late first half, the Hall went over eight minutes stuck on 14. Not a single point during that juncture. They trailed at the break, 30-14. Even with her 15 points, Ka-Deidre Simmons was 5 of 12 from the floor with no assists and two turnovers.

Tabitha Richardson-Smith scored two points for Seton Hall and was not actually in Bozzella's favor.

"She (Richardson-Smith) is one of the better scorers in conference," Bozzella said. "She was sulking because she struggled to get good shots but hey, this is the Big East, you are going to get guarded closely."

Buford tied for scoring honors with 15 points. The Villanova Junior forward shot 5 of 9 from three . Caroline Coyer tied for team scoring honors with 15. Simmons paced Seton Hall with 15 as well. Holeman added 11 points.

"They left her (Holeman) open," Villanova coach Harry Perretta said. "It was a good move because they got out on our perimeter people and lately Holeman has struggled. She hit those shots for us. I'm not surprised because she's had a few 7-for-9 shooting games and can hit the 12 to 15 footer."

Perretta on the ‘new' Big East: "It is fun. You look and about 80% of our games are really competitive and go down to the wire. Maybe it is a little tough on us coaches but it is a fun league, especially for fans."

Bozzella in the culture change mode wants February to matter: "Let's win games and maybe some Big East Tournament games," he said. "Let's shoot for post season like a WNIT to hang another banner in the gym."

February has traditionally been a good month for his teams so optimism is the key word.

"Only one team blew us out - St. John's - on our Big east schedule," he said. "So our remaining games are against teams we beat or teams we lost close games against."

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