It's entirely too early for this, though part of it has to do with the amount of transit time required. Part two of your intrepid blogger's "weekend? What weekend?" basketball extravaganza is the first day of the Seton Hall Thanksgiving tournament, otherwise known as the Seton Hall alumni reunion. Seton Hall goes up against St. Peter's (with former Pirate coach Phyllis Mangina and favored GNoD target Pat Coyle), while St. Francis (with Pirate alum John Thurston at the helm) faces off with St. Joseph's (not sure how they ended up on board the Pirate ship, though).
It's cold. That hill is even longer when it's cold.
It's taking every ounce of strength I have not to tell Mangina off right now. "Gosh, it's fun watching Seton Hall recover from the ashes you burned it down to," or words to that effect. I think I should be applauded for my remarkable restraint there, given that I remember how much talent she managed to squander in those years. (How Noteisha Womack never ended up on someone's radar is beyond me.)
At halftime, Seton Hall is up 34-18 against a really, really bad St. Peter's team. I mean, really bad. I mean, come on, guys. Daisha Simmons has 16 for the Hall, punctuated with a spinning scoop to end the half. Bra'Shey Ali has 10 and what feels like all the rebounds. She's been reading the peculiarities of the road-side rim well. Alyssa Velles has nine of the Peacocks' 18 points on some late shooting.
Your early contender for brain fart of the day: Bra'Shey Ali inbounding the ball to the ref. Ref's response: "I'm not on your team."
The intensity was not what the coaching staff was looking for, but it's kind of hard to be intense when your opponent is that far below you in skill. We got to see some extended minutes for the reserves, which is always my favorite part of a blowout.
Alyssa Velles supplied most of the scoring for St. Peter's, shooting sweet jumpers whenever she was given space- and she was given space too frequently for my liking. I know the scouting report probably focused on Mostafa and Bethea, but still. Sajanna Bethea has some potential, but right now she plays like someone who's accustomed to having a huge size advantage on everyone and hasn't learned how to play with anything that resembles finesse. She's big and reckless and has all the shooting skill of a CYO fifth grader. Teresa Corchado threw her body at a block and was very easily rattled when Seton Hall threw the press at her. Talah Hughes boxed out inside well enough, but I admit to being distracted by how fluffy her hair was. Fluffy! I was pleasantly surprised at how well Marcia Senatus ran the offense off the bench- nothing flashy, but she didn't make too many mistakes, either. Neechelle Ingram made a couple of plays in the middle- I'm surprised she fell to the back of the rotation. Or I would be if I hadn't suffered through years of Pat Coyle.
Hala Mostafa has really developed since her freshman year. Her shot is still a little weird, but not as awkward as it was early in her career, and she's developed a nice little spin move and quick first step. She had a couple of resounding blocks. Bridget Whitfield looked to have a little bit of a temper on her- got away with spiking the ball after she was called for a double dribble. Antonia Smith was quieter than I had expected- I thought she was going to be more of an offensive threat, but she was one of many Peacocks (I still want to call them Peahens, because biological accuracy was for the win!) taking really bad shots. So was Rebecca Sparks, which disappoints me because I always like to see Rebeccas do well. I'm an egoist, what can I say? Samantha Meier was a big body down low, but not an accurate shooter.
St. Peter's focused most of their defensive energy on clogging the lane- a Pirate, usually a Simmons, would drive and find herself covered in navy blue jerseys. They couldn't keep it up.
Nice to see Teresa Kucera on the floor again. She fell to the back of the rotation with the newcomers. Claire Lundberg had herself a nice little stretch in garbage time, though she seemed to be backing off her three-point shot. I'll take a pretty finger roll, though. Kat Egan was tough defensively. Love her hustle. She got tasked with guarding Mostafa for stretches in the second half, with mixed results- she had a lot of trouble hanging on the swift change in direction. Tara Inman brought the hustle. She shook a lot of balls loose on the ground. Lubirdia Gordon still can't catch a pass to save her life, but she's getting better at corralling rebounds and setting screens. Jordan Mosley ran a steady offense off the bench, but had some bad luck with the rim. We were rooting for her to get that basket.
Bra'Shey Ali grabs all the rebounds. I know I just said the same thing about Amber Thompson yesterday, but it's true. I love watching the way Shey reads an odd hop and scoops it up like a vacuum cleaner. She was fierce and tough and I love watching her work. Janee Johnson was much sneakier with her rebounding. I had no idea until I grabbed the final stats that she had the game-high. I was mostly caught up in the dumb mistakes she was making. I ride Janee on dumb mistakes harder than I do most players because if you have the brains for Duke, you should not be making quite so many dumb mistakes. It's a bass-ackwards form of respect. (I
Hitting people in the face is apparently no longer a foul, but other than that the officiating was fairly solid. Travels were mostly being allowed to slide, but I'll chalk that up to game management, given that it took almost nine minutes for St. Peter's to score and another three for them to get a field goal.
Overall, it's hard not to be satisfied with a 30-point win, but at the same time, I feel like Seton Hall was aware of just how bad St. Peter's was and was willing to play down to them. They're not going to be able to do that against St. Joseph's. (Spoiler: St. Joseph's won the other semifinal.)