Friday, November 14, 2014

Seton Hall 66, Rider 47: Ray Floriani's Photo Essay

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – It is analogous to being a kid waking up on Christmas morning. The heart accelerates with anticipation. Only, we are adults chronologically. Regardless, the beginning of the college basketball season captivates us like a child on December 25 morn.

The tipoff today was Rider at Seton Hall in a WNIT first round contest. Rider has a veteran group that advanced to the MAAC semifinals last season. They were no match for the veterans, talent and disruptive defense of the Hall. The visitors did not hit double digits until 2:37 remained in the first half. They put up just 14 first half points and trailed by 24 at intermission.

Rider settled down and played a much better second half. Offensive execution raised the confidence level. Never seriously threatened, the Hall posted a 66-­47 victory.

In retrospect, both coaches found positives and things needing immediate attention. Seton Hall forced 31 turnovers, but was foul prone and beaten on the boards. Rider struggled those initial 20 minutes and regained poise in the latter half.

Respective coaches Tony Bozzella of Seton Hall and Rider’s Lynn Milligan were once again in a ‘game’ mode. No dissertation regarding predictions, projections and prognostications. Just one game in, but enough to get the competitive and analytical juices flowing.

After formal interviews, yours truly started chatting with Seton Hall Director of Basketball Operations Marissa Flagg. We discuss the NBA, to which she says: “Ray, the Knicks are killing me with their losing streak.” As a fellow Knick fan, agreed. Time to put that aside as now we have the college season.

One day and it feels like it’s in full swing.

With a noon start, Seton Hall cheerleaders greeted the many school children entering Walsh Gymnasium:
Seton Hall grad and writer Anna Negron entertained us with another outstanding job singing our national anthem:
One of the few times in the first half where a Rider point guard did not see pressure:
Tony Bozzella encourages his team taking the floor after a timeout:
Ka-Deidre Simmons of Seton Hall sizes up the Rider defense:
Following the victory, the Seton Hall cheerleaders and dance team, the Sapphires, pose for a picture:

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