SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Senior Day at Seton Hall. Festivities and special remembrances aside, there was a game to contest.
Villanova entered Walsh Gymnasium winners of their last two. Seton Hall was attempting to snap a three game losing streak, not an easy task, as the Wildcats were battling for third spot in the Big East order. Seton Hall, at seventh, was attempting to gain some much-needed momentum heading into the regular season homestretch. In the final analysis, it was all Villanova from the start in an 87-52 romp over the Hall. Villanova improved to 9-5 in conference, while Seton Hall falls to 5-10.
First five possessions:
Villanova: Missed FG, turnover, field goal, field goal, field goal
Seton Hall: Turnover, missed FG, missed FG, turnover, turnover
The time elapsed, 3:37, hints at a tempo very well suited to Villanova’s pace. Entering the game, Seton Hall was playing at a 75-possession pace. Villanova was a marked contrast at 65 possessions per outing.
Villanova, with their motion sets, is able to obtain some great looks from the perimeter. An oft-overlooked aspect of coach Harry Perretta’s attack is the fact the Wildcat offense also calls for penetration and attacking the basket. Villanova built a 22-10 lead at the end of the first quarter doing that. Seton Hall is running a three-guard set. The Pirates are having difficulty getting in the lane via dribble penetration. Credit the Villanova defense, one of man-to-man with good help principles.
Lubirdia Gordon has been a first half bright spot for Seton Hall establishing a good low post presence, but not enough to offset Villanova’s Jordan Dillard. The Villanova senior guard found openings and knocked down four mid-range jumpers in the second quarter.
Halftime: Villanova 48, Seton Hall 22
Seton Hall comes out of the intermission on a 10-2 run. The deficit is still 18, yet the importance of getting off to a good start those opening minutes cannot be underscored. JaQuan Jackson was instrumental in the Pirates starting this half on a good note.
An 18-point lead with six minutes left in the third quarter is a good lead but, with the three-pointer, not insurmountable. Villanova needed Dillard to step up and stop the Seton Hall run. After that juncture, it was all Villanova. Gordon put together a solid outing for the Hall. LaTecia Smith, Claire Lundberg and Jackson had their moments, otherwise it was all Villanova.
Villanova placed six in double figures, Seton Hall two. Villanova was 9-of-26 from distance, Seton Hall 2-of-12. The Wildcats led 30-28 on points in the paint.
Possessions: Villanova 63, Seton Hall 61
Offensive efficiency: Villanova 138, Seton Hall 85
eFG%: Villanova 65, Seton Hall 41
Free Throw Rate: Villanova 13, Seton Hall 13
Offensive Rebound%: Villanova 39, Seton Hall 17
Turnover Rate: Villanova 13, Seton Hall 13
Leading scorers and EF:
Villanova: Jordan Dillard 15 points, EF 17.
Seton Hall: Lubirdia Gordon 18 points, EF 21.
What Villanova did well: A little of everything. Most impressive was their shooting and owning the offensive glass.
What Seton Hall did well: Caring for the ball. Eight turnovers and a low turnover percentage rate.
Coming off a nice road sweep of St. John’s and Seton Hall, the Wildcats are on the upswing as the stretch run is upon us. As Perretta notes, when they shoot the ball well, they are indeed very dangerous. Their balanced scoring would attest to that. Defensively, they are playing extremely well. Villanova will be a tough out in the conference tournament.
Seton Hall still struggles to find an identity. Gordon is effective inside, but coach Tony Bozzella is faced with injuries and a team searching for consistency. For the Pirates, the clock is ticking.
“Seton Hall chose to do what others have done, leave Samantha Wilkes, Mary Gedaka and Jordan Dillard open. They hit shots, and when they do, we are very dangerous as it opens up the inside for us. Today we shot very well and rebounded on the offensive boards, which we normally do not do. When you put up 87 points though, you do not have to worry much about offensive rebounding. We are playing much better defense than previous weeks. We went from last in conference field goal percentage defense a few weeks ago and are moving up on that list. I think down the road, we just have to keep improving as a team. DePaul is on top in the conference, but they are beatable. This conference is still up for grabs.”- Villanova coach Harry Perretta
“Terrible. They dictated to us. We were a step slow on defense.We are decimated with injuries. Played the subs a lot, but they are out there to respond. We felt less pressure and did a better job overall the second half. Gordon did a nice job, and I am happy for her to go out that way at home. We had success getting the ball inside, but did not do it as much as we should. We need to be consistent. We take to the road the rest of the way and somehow need to find a way to get better consistency. No doubt, we are struggling.” - Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzella