South Orange- Tuesday’s opener for both teams saw Seton Hall serve notice. This may not be a fifth place team as predicted in the Big East coaches poll. The Pirates stifled Iona to the tune of a dominant 75-32 victory at Walsh Gymnasium. The numbers:
Offensive Efficiency: Seton Hall 115, Iona 50
eFG PCT: Seton Hall 51, Iona 33
FT Rate: Seton Hall 21, Iona 19
OREB Pct.: Seton Hall 42, Iona 22
TO Rate: Seton Hall 14, Iona 34
Leading Scorers: Micah Gray, Seton Hall, 11 points, Petra Oborilova, Natalia Otkhmezuri, Iona 7 points.
Seton Hall raced out to a 22-6 lead after the first period. At intermission it was a 46-16 advantage. And the Pirates never let up. Defensively, they forced 24 Iona turnovers, leading to 27 points. "Our defense dictated," Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzella remarked. "We are a new team and defended very well."
Seton Hall played man to man and occasionally utilized a three quarter court trap to keep the Gaels off balance offensively. Finding it difficult to deal with Seton Hall inside, Iona chose to go the three point route. Unfortunately for the Gaels, they connected on just 27% (4 of 15) from downtown.
Depth was evident and a Seton Hall asset, with the pirates placing 11 in the scoring column with five scoring at least eight points. For Bozzella, it may add up to the enviable situation of having difficulty determining who should start.
Iona, defending MAAC champion, was overwhelmed with the Seton Hall defense. Coach Ang Szumilo was most concerned with the turnovers. Though Seton Hall also did a job on the glass with a 39-26 rebounding edge.
Seton Hall travels to Columbia on Friday night. Promises to be an interesting test for the Pirates. Iona will host LIU on Sunday afternoon. Szumilo played for Bozzella at LIU in the early 2000. Now, after facing her former college coach, goes up against her alma mater.