Monday, March 24, 2014

Seton Hall 75, Princeton 74: Ray Floriani's Photo Essay

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ­ - The brackets were long since ’busted,’ rolled up into a ball of paper headed for the circular file. Even as fans entered Walsh Gymnasium, the second number one seed from the state of Kansas was going down. The Seton Hall women’s team was well aware of what can happen in March, which is not referred to as ’madness’ for no reason.

On Sunday, the Pirates contributed to this extremely exciting and pulsating month with a thrilling 75-­74 victory over Princeton. The second round WNIT victory sets up a possible third round meeting with in-state opponent Rutgers.

Not one to look ahead, The Hall survived a vintage performance from Michelle Miller. The Princeton sophomore scored 34 points. At halftime, Miller had 22 and Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzella figured the percentages would catch up with her. They didn’t, but thankfully for the Pirates, their defense did.

Once again Ka­-Deidre Simmons (23 points, 5 assists and immeasurable heart) was relentless in pursuit of extending the Seton Hall season and reaching the next round. In the final seconds, it came down to a redshirt freshman for Seton Hall, as Sidney Cook converted a rebound and was fouled. The Pirates found it a frustrating (10­-for-22) struggle from the charity stripe all afternoon, but Cook calmly sank what was the deciding point.

Walsh Gymnasium had all the trappings of March Madness: An enthusiastic bipartisan crowd, the Princeton and Seton Hall bands, and naturally, the Pirates’ cheer and "Sapphires" groups. There was drama, and as we have seen thus far, another important supporting player stepping to the fore to advance her team.

The brackets are long destroyed, but who cares? March Madness is too much fun.

The noteworthy, recognizable, and accomplished Princeton band:
Head coach Tony Bozzella and assistant Lauren DeFalco discuss a pregame point:
Seton Hall's Alexis Brown initiates the offense:
Princeton on the inbounds:
Victory belongs to Seton Hall:
Princeton coach Courtney Banghart and Michelle Miller meet the media:

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