PITT 76 Seton Hall 40
A women’s game last Tuesday. Pitt just got into the rankings at 25th. Seton Hall was playing well and hosting the Panthers at Walsh Gym, a place Pitt has struggled in recent seasons. The game was never in doubt. The Panthers raced to a 42-17 halftime lead. They simply dominated from tap to buzzer. The defense was just as impressive as the offensive end. Pitt forced 21 turnovers while limiting the Pirates to 13 field goals and 24% shooting from the floor. Shavonte Zellous, one of the Big East’s best, led Pitt with a game high 29 points.
“We played great,” Pitt coach Agnus Berenato said. “We were on a mission we took this as a business trip. We were worried about this game because we watched Seton Hall on tape and saw they are a good team. They took Notre Dame to the wire here a few weeks ago. Our defense, though, was phenomenal.”
To a person Pitt is wonderful. Starting with Berenato, her staff, players and support personnel, the entire group is cooperative, friendly and personable. They just go out and make life miserable for their opposition from tip to buzzer.
“We really wanted to win this for Janey,” Berenato said. ‘Janey’ is Jania Sims the junior point guard for Pitt who is out for the year with a stress fracture. Sims is a Newark native who played at powerhouse Shabazz High School. “My team really wanted to win this for Janey,” Berenato said. They did and in convincing fashion.
Providence 98 Seton Hall 93 (OT)
On Thursday evening over the Prudential Center the Seton Hall men battled but came up short in search of their first Big East win of the season. Providence gradually wore down the Pirates, fouling out three players in the process, to earn a hard fought road win.
The opening half saw a shootout. Providence led 46-42 and both teams were attacking the basket, with bombs from beyond the arc. At the half the teams were shooting a combined over 60% from three. Providence was 9 for 12 while the Hall was 6 of 12. The final half saw Providence coach Keno Davis make a more concerted effort to attack the basket, the traditional way, in the paint. “We made it a point to attack the basket and wear them down,’ Keno said. “ I was pleased because earlier in the season if a team starting taking away our threes defensively we would have moved farther out and kept shooting them. Today we showed our maturity as a team.”
Jeremy Hazell led all scorers with 30 points (7 of 12 beyond the arc). In crunch time of regulation and overtime Providence made it a point not to allow Hazell any good uncontested looks. Jeff Xavier, ironically a Bobby Gonzalez recruit and player at Manhattan led four Friar double digit scorers with 20 points.
Gonzalez was not thrilled with Providence’s 42-22 edge in free throw attempts but did not criticize the officials. In all fairness, the Hall had a 6-5 advantage at halftime when it was a perimeter game, In the final half Providence went inside as noted and enjoyed a 41-30 final edge on the boards. Those factors get you to the line.
“We have to keep fighting, “ Gonzalez emphasized. “We have been playing some pretty good ball but nothing in this league is automatic.”
St.Peter’s 64 Niagara 46
On Friday at Yanitelli Center this MAAC women’s matchup saw two teams looking for better days. St.Peter’s is coming off a strong season that saw them advance to the conference semifinal. The Peahens entered the game 5-11 (2-5 in the MAAC). Simply, it’s a case of replacing several key losses from last year. Niagara, on the other hand, entered in the midst of a dreadful 1-17 campaign.
From the outset this would be St.Peter’s’ night. The hosts raced to a 39-16 halftime lead. Niagara shot 26% the first half with only six first half field goals. For the game the Purple Eagles had more turnovers (20) than field goals (17).
St.Peter’s was led by senior guard Tania Kennedy, a consistent performer this season, with 21 points. There were a number of contributors that pleased coach Stephanie DeWolfe. “We had a great first half,” DeWolfe said. “Execution could have been a little better second half but overall I’m pleased.” A few areas are positives to the St.Peter’s mentor.
The play of Charlene Riddick, a sophomore post player, is improving and giving the team an inside presence. “We are young,” DeWolfe said. “The freshman are working hard and coming along and we have been playing with a freshman point guard (Sakara House) out there.” Among the first year players, Jamie Smith, a 5-6 guard is coming on and contributing. Smith had 17 points (10 of 11 from the line) in a recent win over Loyola.“We’re coming along as a team,” DeWoilfe added.
St.Peter’s is halfway through their MAAC schedule. As a staff and team, they eagerly look forward to the second half.