WNIT: Seton Hall defeats FDU in opening round

South Orange, NJ - In the first round of the WNIT Seton Hall hosted FDU at Walsh Gymnasium. In the end, the final score 67-45 in Seton Hall’s favor, did not do justice to how competitive the game was. Seton Hall improved to 20-12 and moves on to the second round. FDU finished their season at 19-12. The points of emphasis….

Three point shooting- The shot wasn’t forced. If it was there FDU would take it. In the first half five of the Knights seven field goals were from beyond the arc. Aniya Bell knocked down three of those five from long distance.

Resilience. FDU led by eight after the first period. Seton Hall went on a run to regain the lead. FDU quickly responded with a run of their own to take a 34-31 lead into intermission.

Lauren Park-Lane. She scored a game-high 29 points. Most important, the Seton Hall lead guard put her mark on the game. "She’s a great player," FDU coach Ang Szumilo said of Park-Lane. "Our game plan was to keep her out of the lane. We had some defensive breakdowns and she took advantage." Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzella added, "she (Park-Lane) willed us to win tonight. At halftime I got on her for something. Rather than sulk she said ‘I got this coach’ and had a great second half."

Wearing them down. Seton Hall entered the fourth period with a narrow 51-45 lead. Over the course of those last ten minutes, the Pirates held FDU scoreless. Seton Hall utilized a half court trap that wore down FDU. The Knights struggled to get into an offensive flow. "We worked on pressure all week," Bozzella said. "I think our trap did have an effect on them (FDU) in the last period." FDU had opportunities but could not find the range. "We had looks," Szumilo said. "Unfortunately nothing went down that last period. Give Seton Hall credit for their defense."

Competitive. As noted, the final score was not indicative of the type of game it was. There were nine lead changes and two ties. FDU led for 22 minutes in this contest. "It was a hard game," Bozzella noted, "FDU was great, tough and smart. They were well prepared. It was great to compete against my former point guards (FDU head coach Ang Szumilo and assistant Kaity Healy). They out-hustled us for a half and gave us a heck of a game."

Unsung hero. Amari Wright scored six points and grabbed 2 rebounds in 13 minutes. Seton Hall’s 5’9" guard was a difference maker. "She (Wright) was great on defense," praised Bozzella. "She got deflections, was in the passing lanes and did so much for us. She’s been through a lot this year and she came off a great week of practice prior to this game."

Numbers. Tempo free numbers saw a 70 possession (uptempo pace) game. Seton Hall had an offensive efficiency of 96 while FDU (with that fourth period shutout) checked in at 64. Both teams had very high turnover rates: FDU 26% and Seton Hall 21%.

As noted, Park-Lane led the way with 29 points. Aniya Bell paced FDU with 17. Seton Hall shot 49% from the floor while FDU was 28%. Both teams struggled from three with Seton Hall at 24% and FDU 20%. NEC Player of the Year Madison Stanley struggled with 3 points. Stanley did grab 11 rebounds for the Knights who won the rebounding battle 38-37.

Win number 20 was nice but Bozzella is not stopping there. "Twenty is a number," he said. "When we were 8-10 it didn’t look like we would hit 20 (wins). I’m proud of my team and happy for my staff who works so hard. We have 20 wins but we want more."