Thursday, January 1, 2015

Seton Hall 70, Butler 65: Ray Floriani's Photo Essay

South Orange, NJ ­- There are games that can emerge as ‘trap’ games. Not to disrespect or belittle any opponent, trap games arise due to scheduling. You play a tough opponent, expend the energy and effort required to meet the challenge. A few nights later, there is a game prior to another high-profile contest a few days down the road. It is tough to come back with that same effort for all three games. Not complacency, just simple physical/mental demands.

The Seton Hall women had what you can term a ‘trap game’ on Tuesday. Coming off the win over nationally ranked Georgia on Sunday, Big East Conference opponent Butler ventured into Walsh Gym. Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzella sold his team on the fact Butler swept them last season. Monday called for a practice and Tuesday morning film and shootaround. Preparation time at a premium.

Seton Hall defeated Butler 70-65 at Walsh. The half-empty crowd could say they were in a two-possession game with a team that entered 4-­8. The half-full side can attest to the fact the Hall did what was needed to secure the victory against a team that was prepared and very competitive. On a night leading scorer Tabatha Richardson-­Smith scored just nine points, the Pirates were victorious. Seton Hall also had four double-digit scorers on this evening, another positive and testament to depth.

Depth plus maturity. As Bozzella noted a year ago, this probably would have ended in a loss. Today this is a more experienced, mature Seton Hall team, one that can face the ’trap’ but still do what is needed to come out of it victorious.

Seton Hall director of basketball operations Marissa Flagg has some pregame advice for Ka-Deidre Simmons:
Referee Denise Brooks confers with her partner before tossing the opening tap:
Ka-Deidre Simmons handling the Butler backcourt pressure:
Butler coach Kurt Godlevske sizes up the action:
Grade school players from Academy of Our Lady in Glen Rock, NJ show their shooting skills at halftime:
Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzella and staff studying the action intently:

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