The Pirates grabbed immediate control of Friday’s season opener, muscling past Rider at home in the opening round of the WNIT, 66-47. Although a little erratic in terms of shooting and not quite the Broncs’ equal in rebounding, Seton Hall rolled with its defense by forcing 31 turnovers. Tabatha Richardson-Smith finished with 19 points and five rebounds, and Janee Johnson added 15 points and nine rebounds for the Pirates (1-0).
Seton Hall will play the winner of Saturday night’s game between West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky in the quarterfinal round of the WNIT.
Rider never had a glimpse of progress, as the Pirates forced 21 turnovers in taking a 38-14 lead at halftime. Richardson-Smith hit four 3-pointers in the first half, and the Pirates’ defense did the rest to build the big lead as the Broncs went almost 7 ½ minutes without scoring at one point. Rider labored inside and out in the first 20 minutes, going 0-for-3 from the free-throw line and 0-for-5 from 3-point range.
The Broncs ended up outrebounding Seton Hall (44-34) and was a touch better from the field (39 percent to 38 percent), but was a woeful 11-of-25 from the free-throw line as the Pirates preserved a 20-point lead until the final minute of action. Rider was led by Robin Perkins, who had 16 points and five rebounds.
Seton Hall’s Ka-Deidre Simmons kept the backcourt humming along with 14 points, four rebounds and six assists; Bra’Shey Ali scored 10 points and five rebounds.