South Orange, NJ—Seton Hall coach Anthony Bozzella knew he had his hands full against Connecticut prior to any suspensions.
The pirates suspended second-leading scorer and top rebounder Andra Espinoza-Hunter for Friday night’s home game against No. 2 UConn Huskies.
Bozzella announced the suspension of Esinoza-Hunter for a violation of team rules. The move came just hours before the Big East Conference contest.
She began her college career at UConn, where she saw limited action in seven games during her freshman season before bolting the program. Espinoza-Hunter came to SHU last year as a graduate student from Mississippi State.
Everyone was anticipating the head-to-head between Espinoza-Hunter and Paige Bueckers but witnessed Lauren Park-Lane & the Bueckers show.
The Huskies hasn’t played in two weeks and it showed in the first half of the Seton Hall’s contest. It looked like they were showing some ill effects from their loss to top-ranked South Carolina in the Battle 4 Atlantis championship last Monday in the Bahamas.
But coach Geno Auriemma has sophomore Paige Bueckers on his team and she can do super natural things on the court. Bueckers scored 23 points along with nine boards, seven assists, for No. 2 Connecticut, who handled their business defeating the Pirates, 74-49 at Walsh Gymnasium.
“She was all over the court. She’s smart. She knows where the ball’s going all the time,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “She’s got a bunch of things going for her. She’s so smart offensively that when she’s on defense, she knows exactly where they’re trying to go with the ball. I’ve always said that the best offensive players can also be the best defensive players if they feel like it. Because once you understand the offense, you know what the other team is trying to do and you’re always ready for it.”
Senior guard Christyn Williams chipped in with 17 points and amped up the defensive pressure Park-Lane in the second half making it difficult for her to maneuver along the perimeter.
The Huskies were out of rhythm in the first quarter, turning the ball over six times and they couldn’t buy a basket, the Pirates on the other hand, shot the lights out in Walsh Gym connecting on some bombs early downtown. The Huskies were down 17-16 at the end of the first, Bueckers had nine points keeping UConn in striking distance and Edwards’ follow up off a miss gave the Huskies the lead at the 1:13 mark.
“I was aggravated that we were only 12 points with six minutes to go because I thought we should have been tied,” Seton Hall coach Anthony Bozella said. “We don’t play for moral victories at Seton Hall.”