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Halftime speech ignites Seton Hall past Fordham

Fordham started the game strong and remained strong the first half. However, a pep talk in the Pirates locker room lit a match under the team igniting a much stronger offensive performance the second half.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ- The Seton Hall Pirates vanquished the Fordham Rams on Wednesday night in the Welsh Gymnasium, 66-54.

The game began with energy radiating through the gymnasium from the audience and the teams, as the Pirates started struggling defensively to contain Rams' Samantha Clark. Fordham's, Aaliyah Jones started the game with a three-pointer, giving the Rams a strong start. Fordham didn't hesitate to capitalize while on offense and battled great, while on defense to keep their 17-14 lead.

As the second quarter unfolded, it was redshirt senior, Aleesha Powell, for Seton Hall who answered the call collecting 10 points and closing the 34-27 gap. The Pirates connected multiple crisp passes, while aggressively finding their way around the Rams territory.

However, Clark found herself with no coverage multiple times and was able to put points on the board, ensuring the lead for the Rams while Hannah Missry also played a significant role in the offense leading the Rams with 11 points.

The score at halftime was 34-27 Fordham.

Seton Hall returned the second half with a vengeance as Shakena Richardson, and Aleesha Powell battled to close the gap 37-39 with Fordham struggling to capitalize offensively.

"We weren't really playing our game in the first half. However, It was the speech at halftime that helped us get more aggressive and shut them down aggressive we were," said Richardson.

Senior, Tabitha Richardson-Smith, also had something to bring to the table with a three-pointer making it 40-41, with the Pirates trailing by one.  As G'mrice Davis found herself in foul trouble, she helped Seton Hall gain the advantage, 46-41.

The Rams, getting agitated, continued making unnecessary and fatigued fouls finding themselves in trouble and unable to catch up. Richardson and Powell collected 12 and 19 points, respectively, helping to pull the Pirates ahead 48-41 with 52 seconds left in the third quarter.

"Coach B said we had to stop worrying so much about defense and let them worry about it, and we should focus on connecting passes and getting in the lanes to get more shots off," said Powell.

As the Rams began the fourth quarter with the ball, the Pirates were persistent in capitalizing on turnovers as Richardson once again answered with two layups, giving them an eight point lead. With the crowd on their side, the Pirates' confidence grew. Fordham's sloppy play and unnecessary mistakes hurt them through the final quarter. Their mistake was leaving Powell open to hit a three-pointer, giving Seton Hall a ten point lead with 4:01 left.

As the Ram's tried to smother Richardson-Smith and the rest of the Pirates, they were unsuccessful as the Pirates' continued to connect quick passes and capitalize while inside the paint.

Ultimately, it was the Rams' demise as they attempted to contain the Pirates and continued making unnecessary mistakes, getting five team fouls and leading Powell to the line where she finished the game shooting for two and giving the victory to the Pirates; 66-54.

"Once we stopped worrying so much, that's when we settled down and began to play our game, and that's what gave us the win," said Coach Tony Bozzella.

Seton Hall plays their next game in Lynchburg, Va, where they take on Liberty University December 12, at 5:00 p.m. ET