South Orange. NJ - Tony Bozzella expected a tough battle. The Seton Hall coach knew Marquette could put points on the board (5 games 90 or more points) and was coming off a close loss at DePaul.
As is often the case in the Big East, expect the unexpected. Seton Hall led from tap to buzzer posting a 99-68 victory over Marquette at Walsh Gymnasium on Sunday.
Possessions: Marquette 85, Seton Hall 82
Offensive efficiency: Marquette 80, Seton Hall 121
Possessions or pace. Seventy is a rapid pace. Hitting the 80s is warp speed. Marquette pressured after scores. Seton Hall was willing to finish in transition after breaking the press. In fact, both teams had the ‘pedal to the metal'.
The goal in efficiency terms is 100. Get your offense to the century mark, while your defense holds opponents in double digits. An 80 on the defensive end is outstanding. The 121 is also in the same category for an offense. Total domination by the Hall.
A byproduct of that superb offensive efficiency was a blistering 57% FG percentage and only 13% in the turnover rate, both excellent marks going a long way to that 121 in OE.
Marquette had three double-digit scorers, led by Danielle King with 16 points. Hall had six in doubles. Tabatha Richardson-Smith led the way with 20.
"Our leadership and skills come into play," Richardson-Smith said. "We play each day in practice we know each other's strengths and weaknesses. We just know each other so well and today it all came into play."
Seton Hall also dominated 56-24 in points in the paint and 22-6 for points off turnovers.
Other double-figure scorers...
Natasha Hiedeman- 15 points, hitting a team-high three treys.
Allazia Blockton- 14 points, adding 7 boards.
Shakena Richardson- 15 points, 8 assists, and 2 turnovers.
LaTecia Smith- 15 points, Freshman guard, impressed adding 5 rebounds.
Aleesha Powell-12 points
Tiffany Jones-11 points to go along with a game-high 12 boards, and 2 of Seton Hall's 11 blocked shots.
Taylor Byrne-10 points, in 11 minutes of action.
23 was big. Why? That is the margin which Seton Hall enjoyed over Creighton before the Blue Jays came back to tie. Seton Hall won but got the message. "We thought about that Creighton game," Bozzella admitted. "I think we learned teams got back. We got the message and wouldn't let Marquette do the same against us."
Seton Hall is 3-0 in conference, 13-1 overall, hosting DePaul on Tuesday. Marquette fell to 0-2 in the Big East and 5-8 on the season. Coach Carolyn Kieger's Golden Eagles stay in the area venturing to Queens Tuesday to face St. John's.
Noteworthy: Seton Hall is off to its best start in school history