South Orange, NJ - The numbers in the 69-57 victory posted by Seton Hall over Marquette on Sunday tell us the Pirates held a 97-77 edge in offensive efficiency. The game was played at a 73 possession pace, a tempo both teams felt comfortable employing. The big difference was the defensive effort of Seton Hall against an opponent coming into Walsh Gymnasium with a 96 average offensive efficiency. Especially the defensive intensity the final stanza.
Turnovers played a big part in deciding this one. Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzella hoped to turn the Golden Eagles over 20 times. His goal was not met but the damage was done just the same. Marquette was guilty of 16 miscues for an overly high 22% rate. Seton Hall turned it over 12 times for a more manageable 16% percentage.
The big difference in this one proved to be the final ten minutes. In a game that saw four ties and lead changes, Seton Hall took a 51-48 lead into the fourth period. That last period was the undoing of coach Megan Duffy’s club.
The numbers for the 15 possession final period::
This was a strong offensive showing by the Hall but most important, outstanding defense. The good old eye test showed us Seton Hall putting outstanding guard pressure on Marquette. As the late revered Al McGuire often said, "cut the head off the body dies." With the half court guard pressure they faced, Marquette struggled to find open looks for the likes of Lauren Van Kleunen. Marquette found passing lanes clogged and generally lost any cohesive flow on offense. "To hold her (Van Kleunen) a third team All Big East player to 5 points and 7 rebounds speaks volumes about our defensive effort," Bozzella said.
Lauren Park-Lane led Seton Hall with 25 points. The Hall lead guard handed out eight assists and was largely responsible for applying that defensive pressure.
Karissa McLaughlin led all scorers with 26 and was the lone effective scorer for Marquette- hitting for eight of the team’s nine points the final period.
Marquette at 8-3 and 2-1 in the Big East hosts Cincinnati on Wednesday. The Christmas break follows then on the 29th it’s back to the Big East with a visit to UConn.
Seton Hall improved to 5-5 and earned their first conference win of the season and is now 1-2 (losses to UConn and St. John’s). Down to eight players and facing a possible 0-3 Big East start, Seton Hall faced a sense of urgency. On Sunday they responded in a big way.