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Seton Hall beats DePaul women’s basketball 81-80 in down-to-the-wire thriller

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DePaul head coach Doug Bruno went into the locker room immediately following the game and asked his players who had a chance to stop Seton Hall senior guard Ka-Diedre Simmons from hitting the game-winning running jumper with three seconds to go.

Four out of five players that were on the court raised their hands.

“That scenario has been practiced here and the irritation for me is it happens often in the game of basketball,” Bruno said. “Ka-Deirdre Simmons made a great shot, but I still expect four of our players to make a stop.”

No. 24 Seton Hall came away with an 81-80 win over DePaul Friday night at McGrath-Phillips Arena, hitting a game-winning bucket just seconds after DePaul senior guard Brittany Hrynko hit a three to put the Blue Demons up 80-79.

“It was a good shot but it didn’t mean anything since we lost,” she said. “We needed to get a stop on defense.”

With the win, Seton Hall (22-3, 11-2) moved into sole possession of first place in the Big East and completed the season sweep over the Blue Demons (19-7, 10-3). This was the third straight loss at home for DePaul against a ranked team.

“That was a great game played by two NCAA caliber teams, there’s no doubt in my mind,” Seton Hall head coach Tony Bozzella said. “I think we just had the ball last and made a great shot.”

The game was between the two top offenses in the Big East and the first half showed it. Within the first five minutes of the game, DePaul and Seton Hall jumped out to a 15-14 score line with a Blue Demon advantage. From there, DePaul took control and stretched their lead to as big as 15 at some points.

Seton Hall cut some of the deficit going into halftime and got to within single-digits as they trailed 51-43 at the break. DePaul was propelled in the first half by proficiency from beyond the arc, hitting 13-of-25 shots from three, only four away from what would eventually be the new program record for three point shots.

The three-point shots did not fall in the second half for DePaul as they went 4-19 from three, which allowed Seton Hall to rally back.

“The adjustment is go get layups,” Bruno said. “It’s hard to go get layups against a team that wisely keeps a 6-foot-5 kid in the paint. When you have one player on the floor who can’t score the ball outside they load up the paint so the paint baskets really weren’t there.”

The Blue Demons did get some open shots in the lane as the second half got to the under-12 media timeout but they missed two back-to-back shots in the paint while the Pirates were able to convert on the other end, getting to within one.

The Pirates grabbed their first lead heading into the under-8 timeout but never got ahead by more than four points. In the final minute, Seton Hall took a 79-75 lead but Hrynko was able to take the ball into the lane and grab a layup with 17.7 seconds to go. DePaul forced a turnover on the inbounds and was able to get Hrynko an open corner three with 11 seconds to go.

She hit it to give DePaul an 80-79 lead. But that was short-lasted as Simmons drove down the court and hit the game-winner with three seconds to go after DePaul couldn’t make a stop in the lane. Hrynko’s half-court attempt at the buzzer hit the front of the rim, sealing the win for the Pirates.

“God gave (Hrynko) gifts to make that shot, very few people in America can make that shot,” Bruno said.” Guess what, players that don’t know how to play basketball can make that stop, that’s what’s irritating.”

Seton Hall completed the season sweep of the Blue Demons with the win and grabbed an advantage in the Big East conference lead.  This loss ended DePaul’s six-game winning streak.

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Seton Hall beats DePaul women’s basketball 81-80 in down-to-the-wire thriller