SOUTH ORANGE, NJ -- Seton Hall opened its season with a resounding 66-47 victory over Rider at Walsh Gymnasium. Friday's first round WNIT meeting saw the Pirates impose their defensive will the first half. As is the case there were issues that, moving on, the Hall will address. The points of emphasis.
- Talent, especially veteran talent, is a major asset - "We have several fifth year seniors," Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzella said. "They have enjoyed success and know what it takes to win. There are no issues on the team, they all get along and no one misses practice." Rider coach Lynn Milligan praised the Pirates seconding Bozzella by saying, "Seton Hall is a veteran team with veterans who know how to win." Veteran leadership with the likes of Ka-Deidre Simmons, Janee Johnson and Daisha Simmons setting the tone for the underclassmen. Talented, veteran leadership.
- Seton Hall was not at their best offensively. They committed 18 turnovers (though four were offensive fouls showing some aggressiveness on that end) and shot 43% from the floor. "A year ago if we played like this on offense we would have had trouble scoring," Bozzella said. "Today we still put up 66 points and were not at our best on offense." Tabatha Richardson-Smith led the way with a game high 19 points. The junior forward forced a few shots early before finding the shooter's groove and canning four treys.
- Seton Hall defense imposed its will the first half. Rider did not get to double digits until 2:37 remained in the half. The Broncs trailed 38-14 at intermission. Seton Hall three quarter and half court trapped, disrupting Rider and not allowing them to get into an offensive flow. Hey also adhered to Bozzella's emphasis on guarding the perimeter as Rider was zero for eight from three. On the day, Rider committed 31 turnovers. On the flip side was a second half that saw the visitors settle down on offense and draw fouls on the Hall defense. "We committed 25 fouls for the game," Bozzella said. "They got by us a few times on the dribble, and they are not overly quick, then we fouled. That is something to work on."
- Promise and work. As noted, Rider's first half, yielding an awful 36 offensive efficiency, was offset by a more respectable 85 efficiency the final half. "The Broncs did beat Seton Hall 44-35 on the glass. Junior Robin Perkins led Rider with 16 points and showed fine offensive aggressiveness. "Their (Seton Hall) defense had us on our heels the first half," Miligan said. "We had the (31) turnovers and some were unforced. These are things we can correct and will begin to rectify as soon as our next practice."
Rider of the MAAC advanced to the conference semis last season before losing to eventual champion Marist. Nine letter winners are back for Rider, a team with a bright conference outlook.