On Saturday afternoon, The Seton Hall University Pirates Women’s basketball team overcame a Xavier Musketeers side by 86-62, after having fought with each of its metamorphoses.
At first the Musketeers seemed eager. Its first offensive drives were led by freshman Daniela López. It took roughly three minutes for the home team to recover, scoring at this point led by seniors Azana Baines and Amari Wright. Desperate rallies and charges manifested a mode of play unusually tight for a first quarter. In the frenzy, Seton Hall Sophomore Micah Grey was able to score two-three pointers before the quarter ended with a 26-12 score in her team's favor.
Still intent on offense, Xavier decided to open the second quarter in a physical manner, prompting five fouls and a similar response by the Pirates, which ended up with four. The first two minutes of the second quarter carried on the tension seen at the end of the first. Xavier’s López and Junior Aanaya Harris coordinated a full network, that concentrated on pushing the opponent to the right, somewhat successfully. They managed to sneak in layups when the Pirates weren’t looking, yet the hosts would find a way to retaliate with quick advances to the hoop.
Savannah Catalon, Shailyn Pinkney, and Makennah White each took turns attempting a layup with each other backing, only for them to get asphyxiated by a prepared visitor defense. The score at halftime was 45-25, yet the individual score for the second quarter was 19-13, which meant that the Musketeers were indeed punching well above their weight.
Considering the stoppages and action in the first half, it was expected that—at least for the third quarter—play would become choppy due to interruptions and fouls. However, things went on smoother, with only seven free throws as opportunities to reset strategy. Both teams were able to achieve layups with moderate resistance.
By now, the Musketeers had learned not to prioritize offense over defense, if they wanted to stop the Pirates from scoring. It showed when the Pirates attempted threes during this period, halfway through the quarter.
Soon, the Pirates went back to layups as White joined Pinkney and Brazil Harvey-Carr in a new offensive leadership. White’s layups started to prove dependable. Xavier, on the other hand, still depended on the Harris, Scarlett, and slightly more on Aizhanique Mayo, who seemed focused on attempting threes, of which she made three of eight. At a steady pace, it seemed as if Xavier was running out of contingency planning as their offensive leaders were taken off the court and defense scattered. Still, the third quarter ended with the game at 67-44, but the quarter itself at 22-19.
For the final quarter, Azana Baines was put back and tasked with shoring up offense with Catalon. Xavier, on the other hand, was still bumbling as senior Mackayla Scarlett and freshman Júlia García Roig took over while Mayo continued her campaign of shooting from behind the line. Senior I'yanna Lops, the score leader for the Pirates against UConn, appeared briefly in this quarter, yet the Harvey-Carr and Pinkney duo from before retook offense while allowing for the rest of the team to flank them defensively.
With this victory, Seton Hall stands at sixth in the Big East, in the middle of the table, while Xavier continues at rock bottom; both teams unlikely to be selected for the National Championship at this point. The Pirate’s next match is set to be on Tuesday evening at St. John’s (14-11, 8-5 conf.,) currently ranked fourth in the Big East.