Seton Hall off to an exciting start in 2014 WNIT

Ka-Deidre Simmons of Seton Hall - Photo by Ray Floriani.

Seton Hall has won its first two rounds of 2014 WNIT play to advance to the Sweet 16 and its first 20-win season in almost 20 years. While they look ahead to playing the winner of Harvard and Rutgers, we look back at their WNIT opener against American.

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Seton Hall had post season in its sights all year long.

The goal was realized and the Pirates seized the opportunity with a 63-60 victory over American. The first round WNIT game at Walsh Gymnasium on the Seton Hall campus on Thursday, drew over 700 and put the Hall in a position to host Princeton in a second round matchup.

The numbers of note :

American

Seton Hall

Possessions

68

69

Offensive Efficiency

89

92

eFG%

50

44

FT Rate

7

45

OReb Pct

25

37

TO Rate

24

28

The turnover rate.

A big concern for Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzella. The Pirates committed 19 for the game.

"We had 13 the first half which is awful," Bozzella said. "The second half we took better care of the ball but 19 for the game is unacceptable."

To little surprise, the perimeter oriented American had a low FT Rate. They shot four free throws on the night hitting just one.

Going into the contest, American was attempting 30% of their shots beyond the arc. Against the Hall, 43% of their attempts were from long range. No accident or chance, it was by design.

American coach Megan Gebbia noted, "We were concerned with Seton Hall's size so we decided to use ball screens get perimeter looks and take what the defense would give us. If the shot was there take it." The long range shooting (9-for-25 for 36% from three) was enough to keep the Pirates from pulling away as they threatened to do so at several junctures.

To foul or not to foul.

With 6.4 seconds remaining Seton Hall had a three point lead. Time out American, with play restarting with the visitors in possession on the Seton Hall end.

"We had fouls to give and I definitely wanted to foul," Bozzella said. "I prefer to foul in that situation. What happened was (Alexis) Dobbs got a good look because we did not switch on the ball screen as instructed. Fortunately it did not go but how we handled that last play has me concerned."

Dobbs, a senior guard, finished with a game high 24 points. She hit 6 of 11 from three and drew praise from Bozzella.

"I told her after the game," he said. "We are in the Big East Conference and in my estimation you are a Big East caliber guard."

Bra'Shey Ali led the Hall with 18 points and a game high 20 boards. Ali had 7 offensive rebounds nearly equaling the 9 of American. Ka-Deidre Simmons added 14 points, 6 assists and in Bozzella's opinion, "would not let us lose this game."

Seton Hall improved to 19-10 while American finished at 22-10. Gebbia, a Marist assistant for a decade, has former Marist players Nikki Flores and Emily Stallings on her staff.

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