March 8, 2014
Seton Hall 88, PC 79
Postgame Press Conference: Seton Hall | Providence
CHICAGO, Ill. – Junior guard Ka-Deidre Simmons led a balanced attack with 24 points as seventh seed Seton Hall held off a late Providence charge to advance in BIG EAST Tournament play with a 88-79 victory on Saturday.
But the outcome wasn’t secured until the final seconds after Providence rallied from a 19-point deficit to cut the margin to 80-76 with 32 seconds to play.
Simmons hit a pair of free throws one second later to open a more comfortable 82-76 lead and the Pirates (18-12) added six more in the final 19 seconds as they completed a three-game season sweep of the Friars in the first-round tourney game at DePaul’s McGrath-Phillips Arena.
Seton Hall forward Tabatha Richardson-Smith scored 15 points, guard Alexis Brown had 14 points and 10 rebounds, forward Sidney Cook had 12 points and forward Bra’Shey Ali added 11 points and 11 boards.
Guard Tori Rule paced Providence (7-23) with a game-high 27 points, forward Evi Iiskola had 21, guard Karin Robinson added 15 and forward Alexis Harris collected 11 rebounds as the Friars dropped their third straight and 13th of 14.
The Pirates’ second straight win earned a Sunday Quarterfinals date with No. 2 seed St. John’s as the tournament shifts to Allstate Arena in suburban Rosemont, Ill.
Seton Hall trailed only briefly in the opening minutes but Providence closed the gap to 23-19 on Rule’s jumper with 5:50 showing in the first half. The Pirates then used a 17-6 surge on the way to a 40-25 halftime advantage.
Brown had 12 first half points while Simmons added 10 for the Pirates while Rule topped the Friars with eight.
Providence made another run in the second half, and trimmed the deficit to 46-40 at the 13 minute mark. But the Friars got no closer on that effort as Cook collected 10 points in less than two minutes as the Pirates pushed to lead to 19 at 63-44 with 8:42 to play.
Providence didn’t bring a pep band along so Xavier musicians did double duty playing in support of the Friars. Providence supplied tee-shirts and hats and the Musketeer band quickly — and successfully — mastered the Friar fight song.