SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - There are those times that become special. You really do not get a premonition or hint. Part of an event or happening being 'special' is the gift of spontaneity.
On Friday evening, the Seton Hall women hosted Weber State. The Hall would go on to post a 78-61 victory. At halftime, the 1994 Seton Hall women's team was honored. The greatest in Pirate history, they advanced to the Sweet 16 before losing a heartbreaker to Penn State, a game then-coach and now Saint Peter's assistant Phyllis Mangina said, “I could never watch the tape of.”
It was a special night to reconnect with the players yours truly was so fortunate to cover two decades ago. To watch how they reacted and socialized with each other was special. Even if you knew nothing about the team, you could see by their interaction this was, and still is, such a special and close-knit group.
For the record, that team was 27-5, second in the Big East (16-2) and 14th nationally. Undoubtedly, a proud moment was recalled by Mangina as she addressed the crowd. “UCONN came in here and not only lost, but we put a 25 point hurt on them.” That brought enthusiastic applause from the crowd and smiles from the players.
Following the Weber State game there was a reception for the '94 team in a room just off the court at Walsh Gym. It was so nice to see not just the current coaching staff, but the Seton Hall players stopping by to introduce themselves and pay homage to this honored group.
Just another outpouring of admiration. Something truly to be remembered. As was this evening. Those special occasions are a significant part of one's memory.
Members of the 1994 Seton Hall women's basketball team huddle up for (not old times) memory's sake:
Dawn Johnson, the team's center, whom yours truly has officiated for as a high school coach:
Leading scorer Jodi Brooks, an outstanding player:
The '94 team during halftime:
Bridging the generations: Former coach Phyllis Mangina, who was a point guard during her Seton Hall playing days, speaks with current lead guard Ka-Deidre Simmons: