On Tuesday, that was the case as Seton Hall defeated Illinois 82-72 at Walsh Gymnasium. From the moment the Seton Hall undergrad did a beautiful job singing the National Anthem, the Seton Hall followers could sense this was a special evening.
Illinois, of the Big Ten, entered Walsh 7-2 with a victory over Kentucky on their resume. They had size and talent. On this night, the Pirates were tested and responded. The Hall built an early lead, lost it, and regained it by halftime. In the second half, the margin was double digits basically throughout. Illinois made a run to get it under ten in the stretch, but again, the Pirates responded, closing out a satisfying win.
There were a number of players who rose to the occasion. Tabatha Richardson-Smith led the way with a sterling 38-point effort. Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzella was equally pleased with her seven steals and five rebounds. The Hall forced 22 turnovers, a product of relentless pressure and hustle.
A noted writer once penned ’there is no cheering in the press box.’ A Seton Hall student newspaper writer on press row had to catch herself from cheering. If she did, who could blame her? The effort and pride the Hall showed would make any undergrad, fan or alum proud.
Finals would begin for students the next day. On this evening, textbooks were temporarily put on hold. Anxiety over tests forgotten. After all, it was a ’feel good’ night.
Seton Hall excited and huddling following pregame introductions:
Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzella and staff astutely studying the action:
One guard to another: Marissa Flagg, former Iona point guard and current director of basketball operations at Seton Hall, instructs Ka-Deidre Simmons as the team heads out for the second half:
Illinois coach Matt Bollant makes a point with the Illini's Chatrice White:
Kyley Simmons of Illinois looks over her options:
Seton Hall's Daisha Simmons playing weak side defense, keeping the stance and splitting the vision:
The scoreboard tells it all: