Friday, January 29, 2016

Richardson-Smith's all-around effort helps Seton Hall silence No. 23 DePaul

                             Photo Credit: Geno Green

In front of a raucous crowd on Kids Day in Chicago, Ill., Tabatha Richardson-Smith's 20-point effort helped the Seton Hall Pirates (17-4, 7-3 BIG EAST) score an 83-74 win over the No. 23 DePaul Blue Demons (16-7, 8-2 BIG EAST) at McGrath-Phillips Arena.

Richardson-Smith added seven rebounds, but gave credit to her teammates for executing on offense.

"I give credit to my teammates to find me and run plays through me and it is a great example of what team basketball is about," Richardson-Smith said.

The Pirates defense held the Blue Demons to 9-of-36 (25 percent) from three-point range and coach Anthony Bozzella gave credit to the effort from the opening tip.

"I thought the defensive intensity we came out with was tremendous," Bozzella said. "We really played together well on the offensive and especially the defensive end."

In the paint, Seton Hall outpaced DePaul 44-24 and Bozzella gave credit to his team for dictating the tempo.

"By having such a large margin in the paint, it forced DePaul outside the paint and the kids deserve all of the credit for that," Bozzella said.

On top of being outscored by 20 down low, DePaul also faced a 20-point deficit with 6:07 left in the second quarter and got as close as three, but could never get over the hump.

"[Seton Hall] was more ready to play at the start and when you dig yourself a 20-point hole, you expend a lot of energy to get back into the game and it was hard for us to get over the hump," DePaul coach Doug Bruno said.

DePaul forward Megan Podkowa played the majority of the game in foul trouble and finished with nine points, on 2-of-7 shooting.

Bruno believed Podkowa's foul issues were not the telling sign of the overall result.

"It had more to do with our shot selection early, where we didn't attack at the basket until the last bucket we made in the first quarter," Bruno said. 

Richardson-Smith admitted that Podkowa's foul trouble put DePaul in a precarious position in the first quarter.

"I think we did a great job of getting her in foul trouble and it forced DePaul to play players out of position," Richardson-Smith said.

Aleesha Powell scored 18 of her game-high 24 points in the first half and finished 5-for-5 from long range.

Chanise Jenkins led DePaul in scoring with 21, while Jessica January chipped in with 17 points and a game-high eight assists in a losing effort.

Game Recap:

Both teams exchanged baskets in the first couple of minutes, until Seton Hall went on a 16-2 run to end the first quarter to take commanding 21-6 lead on DePaul.   

The Pirates' dominance showed in the opening stanza as they went 8-of-16 from the field, compared to the Blue Demons' 3-of-17.

The second quarter started like the end of the first as Seton Hall's lead would expand to 33-13 before DePaul countered with a 15-2 run in the final 5:54 to close the half down seven points.

A pair of free throws from Jacqui Grant pulled DePaul to 48-45 with 2:04 left in the third quarter.

The fourth quarter saw the Pirates pull away as the Blue Demons settled for more perimeter looks as opposed to going after the basket. Seton Hall's lead increased to as many as 13 as it would hang on for a nine-point win and split the regular-season series from DePaul.

Looking Ahead:

Both teams are back in action on Jan. 31, as DePaul hosts St. John's for a Noon tip on FS2, while Seton Hall travels to Milwaukee, Wis., to take on Marquette at 2 p.m. on the Fox Sports Go App online.

Social Media:

Follow Geno Green on Twitter @GenoSportsguy.