Pirates rally behind Drexel in fourth to advance to Elite 8

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – Down nine points in the fourth quarter, the Seton Hall women’s basketball team completed a furious late rally to topple Drexel, 78-71, at Walsh Gym on Monday and advance to the WNIT Elite Eight.

It’s now the furthest the Pirates have ever advanced in the playoffs, WNIT or NCAA Tournament. Hall then travels to neighboring Columbia for a quarter-final contest on Monday, March 28 at 8:00 p.m.

Seton Hall had a monster fourth quarter, beating the Dragons, 31-20, to turn a nine-point deficit into a seven-point victory. The Pirates were 11-for-14 in the fourth quarter overall, 4-for-5 from three-point range and a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line.

Junior Lauren Park Lane (Wilmington, Del.) and senior Sydney cooks (Kenosha, Wis.) had double-doubles. Park-Lane broke for a game-high 29 points with 11 assists and three steals, while Cooks had a team-best 19 points and 10 rebounds. Andra Espinoza Hunter (Ossining, NY) and mya jackson (Wilmington, Ohio) both added 12 points.

The story:

Seton Hall opened the game hot from the field and took a 9-2 lead. Espinoza-Hunter’s second three-pointer sent the Pirates into media timeout with a 12-5 advantage. The Pirates defense was stifling, limiting the Dragons to just 21.4% shooting from the floor in the first 10 minutes and they took a 17-11 lead in the second quarter.

In the second quarter, both teams were strong from the field, both shooting over 53%. A Park-Lane layup gave The Hall a 27-21 lead, but Drexel responded with an 11-5 run to tie the game at 32 with just 1:26 to go. Park-Lane closed the half with a three-pointer to send the Pirates into the break, up 35-32.

A Park-Lane three-pointer ended a 3:25 Seton Hall drought and put The Hall up, 42-38, with 5:09 left in the third quarter. Drexel scored seven of the next nine to take a 45-44 lead, their first of the game, but Jackson hit a three-pointer to put The Hall back in the lead, 47-45, with 1:39 left in the third.

Drexel closed the third quarter with the last six points and opened the fourth with the first five. The Dragons’ 11-0 run gave them a 56-47 lead with 8:47 to play. Trailing 58-50, the Pirates raced 11-2, and a jumper from Cooks put The Hall ahead again, 61-60, with 4:02 to go.

Hanging on to a 68-67 lead with just 1:39 to go, Katie Armstrong (Collegeville, Pennsylvania) grabbed an offensive rebound and fed it back to Park-Lane, who drilled a three-pointer. Armstrong then stole the ball in midfield and edged Drexel to the hoop for two more. Drexel called a time out and the Walsh Gym faithful erupted. Now six, the Pirates managed to freeze the game on the free throw line.

Inside the numbers:

  • Seton Hall was 28-for-52 (53.8%) from the floor for the game, while Drexel was 28-for-62 (45.2%). The Hall were 11 for 21 (52.4%) from three-point range, while the Dragons were 6 for 21 (28.6%).
  • Park-Lane burst for a game-high 29 points on effective 9-for-14 shooting, including 5-for-8 from three-point range. She also had 11 assists, three steals and just three turnovers.
  • The Hall outshot Drexel on the glass, 29-to-28, but the Dragons had an 8-to-3 advantage in offensive rebounds.
  • Cooks had 19 points and 10 rebounds, the best on the team.
  • Seton Hall was a perfect 11 for 11 (100.0%) from the free throw line, while Drexel was 9 for 10 (90.0%).
  • Espinoza-Hunter had 12 points on four 3-pointers. She also had eight rebounds and three steals.
  • Seton Hall forced 10 turnovers, while Drexel forced 14.
  • Jackson had 12 points, thanks to a pair of three-pointers scored. She also had two rebounds, two assists and two steals.
  • Armstrong was crucial for the Pirates off the bench tonight with four points, three assists, two blocks and two rebounds.

News and Notes:

  • Seton Hall improves to 22-12 overall, while Drexel’s season ends with a final record of 28-6. The Pirates have now won 14 of their last 16 games.
  • Tonight’s game was 34and of the season for the Pirates, which tied the program record for a single season.
  • The Pirates improve to 3-1 all-time against the Dragons.
  • Hall is now 7-6 all-time in the WNIT and advances to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history.
  • The Pirates improve to 106-40 at Walsh Gym during the Anthony Bozella era and 53-8 to Walsh against non-conference opponents.
  • Seton Hall’s 22 wins are his most since winning 23 in the 2015-16 season.
  • Park-Lane’s 20-point game is his 16and this season and the 22n/a of her career.
  • Cooks hit double digits by scoring for the 15and straight game, which leads the team.
  • With 29 points tonight, Park-Lane passed former pirate Gloria Bradley in 16and place on Seton Hall’s career goalscorers list.
  • With 19 points tonight, Cooks became the 69and player in Seton Hall history to record 500 career points in a pirate uniform. She also topped 1,200 points for her impressive career overall.
  • Cooks’ double-double is his 12th of the season leading the team.
  • Seton Hall improves to 10-0 this season when passing his opponent and to 20-1 when passing his opponent.
  • Tonight’s effort is the biggest fourth-quarter deficit (nine points) overcame by Seton Hall in a win this year.

Following:

With the victory, Seton Hall advances to the Elite Eight round of the WNIT and then travels to Columbia on Monday, March 28. Tipping time is scheduled for 8:00 p.m.

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