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Villanova Women’s Basketball Game Preview: Seton Hall Pirates

Seton Hall has had some serious roster changes since the two teams’ previously close matchup.

NCAA BASKETBALL: JAN 22 St John's at Seton Hall Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Villanova Wildcats (19-5) Vs. Seton Hall Pirates (15-10)

When: Sunday, February 11, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. EST
Where: Jake Nevin Field House
Coverage: Big East Digital Network/Fox Sports Go
Result of Previous Meeting: Villanova won 67-59 at Seton Hall on Jan. 12
Key Players For Seton Hall: #0 JaQuan Jackson (5-8) Sr., G; #23 Taylor Brown (6-0) So., F; #24 Shadeen Samuels (6-0) So., F

Scouting Report

Seton Hall, currently ranked fifth in the Big East, is coming to Jake Nevin to face off against the Villanova women, who are standing in third. Earlier in the season, the Pirates fell to the Wildcats at home 67-59. The Wildcats were trailing until the final quarter, where they scored 29 points. While their last matchup was a close one, Seton Hall has seen some serious chnages to their roster since.

The Pirates suffered a huge loss after Donnaizha Fountain parted ways with the team, 19 games into their season. The graduate transfer from Temple and Georgia Tech played her last game with Seton Hall on January 21. According to The Setonian, the Hall was simply not the right fit anymore. Fountain led the team in minutes, points, and rebounds at the time of her departure. After the loss of Fountain, Seton Hall only has one woman who’s average points reach double digits.

Senior guard JaQuan Jackson has stepped in as the team’s leader. She averages 11.9 points per game, and leads the team in threes by a mile. Jackson is also 37 for 40 at the free throw line, an impressive 92.5%, and is also an asset on the defensive end of the court—where she generates turnovers at a pretty good clip. Last year was her first season with the Hall after sitting out her sophomore year due to NCAA transfer rules. She ranked third in the Big East last year in scoring with 15.3 points per game, including 57 three point shots and, a career high 32 points at St. John’s. Jackson has proven her abilities as a team leader, and seems to be comfortable taking over that role once again.

Taylor Brown follows Jackson in points with 9.8 per game. In her first season with the Pirates, she’s shown fans glimpses of her abilities. Against Princeton she had a season high 11 rebounds, and was made 7 of 8 free throws. Brown also put up 19 points against Jacksonville State, where she also had a season-high three blocks. The Pirates will need to rely on Brown more in the coming seasons after Jackson’s graduation.

Another sophomore who’s brought her game to a new level is Shadeen Samuels. In her freshman season, she averaged 4.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. This year, she's scoring 7.9 points a game paired with 6.3 rebounds. She’s a great shot blocker and protector on defense. Samuels is also standing at 5th in the conference with a 50% field goal percentage.

Other notable players include junior guards Inja Butina and Nicole Jimenez. Butina averages eight points a game and is an excellent facilitator and perimeter defender. Jimenez is another nice all-around contributor.

Outlook

There’s a pretty big difference in how the teams handle the ball. Villanova’s assist-turnover ratio is at 1.4, second in the conference (DePaul is first with 1.5). The Pirates on the other hand are tied for second to last with a 0.8 ratio.

The Wildcats have the edge over Seton Hall in the simple fact that they’ve been playing with the same roster all season. The loss of Fountain isn’t doing the Hall any favors.

However, it might be a case of addition through subtraction for the Pirates. They are 4-2 without her and while she was their leading scorer and source of production, they have found other ways to win and get the job done.

On the other hand, the ‘Cats have been playing well again, winning four straight entering Sunday afternoon’s contest.

Villanova needed a bit of a rally and a high-scoring fourth quarter for a come-from-behind victory. This time around, it might not even need that. The Wildcats should stay hot and win.