JERSEY CITY, N.J. – A common denominator in this early season has been defense. Once again the Seton Hall women’s team was dominant on the defensive end in Saturday’s 66-51 victory over St. Peter’s at Yanitelli Center. The Hall limited St. Peter’s to 35 percent (18 of 52) shooting from the field. They also out-rebounded the hosts 38-30 and forced 21 turnovers. The Hall improved to 7-1, their best start since the 1994-95 season.
The game was close for a good portion of the opening half. Seton Hall started opening a lead the latter minutes and went into the half with a 27-19 lead. St. Peter’s, now 2-4 on the year, is a young team. Coach Stephanie DeWolfe’s group displayed their youth by missing several good scoring opportunities early on.
Midway through the second half, Ebonie Williams, the fine sophomore guard, hit three consecutive jumpers to open a comfortable double-digit lead for the Pirates. Williams paced all scorers with 17 points. Jamie Smith came off the bench to lead St. Peter’s with 13 points.
St. Peter’s also had a difficult time matching up with Noteisha Womack. The 6-3 senior is playing extremely well of late and had another double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Beside the damage done by the inside-outside combination of Womack and Williams, Phyllis Mangina’s club received contributions from the bench. Jadis Rhoden and Kandice Green came off the bench to contribute 11 and seven respective points. Tania Kennedy, St.Peter’s senior guard, added 11 points, including the 1,000th of her career.
Fordham Battles Valiantly in Loss
On Thursday evening Fordham dropped a heartbreaker to Fairfield in a men’s contest at the Rose Hill Gym in the Bronx. The Rams dropped to 1-6 while Fairfield improved to 6-3.
When it rains it pours. It was simply a succession of hard luck for Fordham on this rainy evening. Fordham was minus the services of Brenton Butler, the fine junior guard who injured his ankle in the win over Lafayette three days earlier. About a minute following tip-off, Chris Bethel broke his nose. He had a strong 19-point outing against Lafayette and entered the contest as Fordham’s primary inside threat.
To their credit, the Rams competed. They trailed 32-31 at the half. When the Stags opened up a seven-point lead with just over eleven minutes left, the feeling was Fairfield would pull away. Led by freshman leads guard Jio Fontan, Fordham refused to go away. They tied the game with twenty seconds left on an inside shot by Luke Devine. Fordham answered with a three pointer by Lyndon Jordan with two seconds to play. It was Jordan’s only field goal attempt in the only minute he logged for the evening.
Fontan led the Rams with 22 points, while swingman Mike Moore added 20. Fairfield had three players in double figures, paced by Jonathan Han’s 14 points. Anthony Johnson, a solid 6-8 inside player had a strong outing for Ed Cooley’s club with nine points, 13 boards and two blocks.
- Fontan realized with Butler, and then Bethel out, he had to run the offense and also look for his shots. As noted he scored 22 points, on 7 of 12 shooting and looked for his teammates in the framework of the offense. “Jio grew up tonight,” said Fordham coach Dereck Whittenburg. “He picked it up and really had a good game. He understands what is required to run an offense.”
- When asked what his biggest adjustment to college ball, Fontan, who starred at national prep power St. Anthony’s (NJ) simply says, “Just coming in and as point guard adjusting and getting to know my teammates and their tendencies.”
- Whittenburg, confident and upbeat, maintains this is a new season. “The first five games were something else,” he said. “We are in a new season in my estimation and we’re one and one… We are definitely becoming a better team as our young guys are learning.”