Courtside Observations: Seton Hall 69 Marquette 57

South Orange, NJ - Marquette invaded historic Walsh Gymnasium for a Big East matchup with Seton Hall on Sunday afternoon. The conference season is still young but the visiting Golden Eagles were 2-0 while the Hall was 0-2 and feeling a sense of urgency to get in the win column.

Marquette has size with 6’2" Lauren Van Kleunen scoring at a 14.9 points per game clip while pulling down 6.9 rebounds. The first period though, saw Seton Hall’s main defensive threat come from beyond the arc. Karissa McLaughlin buried three long range shots for the visitors. On the Pirate end she was matched by the Hall’s Park-Lane with three treys of her own. Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzella changed defenses while keeping at least one player situated inside to guard the post. That, and some transition offense gave the Pirates an 18-15 lead at the end of the first period.

Seton Hall built a nine point lead early in the second period. Marquette quickly answered with two Jordan King field goals. Bozzella was animated on the sidelines- ‘debating’ calls more than usual. With the noted 0-2 start in conference the Hall mentor realized the importance of this meeting. Marquette coach Megan Duffy figured the best way to stop transition-limit turnovers. Her club was able to do that over the course of these ten minutes. Outstanding ball movement on the final possession gave McLaughlin a great look from three. She buried it. At the half: Seton Hall 31 Marquette 30.

Marquette opened the second half with a set play freeing McLaughlin for a layup. Park-Lane stayed hot on the perimeter and four minutes in the Hall had a five point lead. Seton Hall’s problem inside was Liza Kerlen, a 6’2'' sophomore. Marquette is posted her up with good results. Seton Hall responded with an 8-0 run to build a seven point lead. Good guard pressure was a key to the late third period spurt. Marquette answered again, closing out the third within a possession. Seton Hall 51 Marquette 48.

Park-Lane used her quickness to break down the defense early in the period. Running mate Andra Espinoza-Hunter made some nice inside moves pushing the Seton Hall lead to eight with just over six minutes to play. Marquette struggled to get good looks. Duffy’s group went deep into the shot clock on a number of possessions. Second half especially, it was a strong defense effort by the Pirates. With just over three to play the pirates held a 16 point lead. Marquette had just one field goal for three points the entire period. Marquette did not raise the white flag. Golden Eagles came out with some full court pressure. Following a couple turnovers, the Pirates regrouped and they closed out the 69-57 victory.

Seton Hall improved to 5-5 (1-2 Big East) while Marquette is now 8-3 (2-1). McLauglin led all scorers with 26 points. Park-Lane paced the Hall with 25 while Espinoza-Hunter added 16. On the defensive end Bozzella was pleased with the job his Pirates did on Van Kluenen, holding her to 5 points and seven rebounds. He was also pleased by the 'all in' effort of his team which entered the contest with just eight available players.