November 7, 2023 

Locked On Women’s Basketball: Seton Hall’s Tony Bozzella talks Pirates, busy day one in college hoops

Textbook NCAA chaos on opening day, and the joys of Jersey basketball

After a whirlwind opening day of college hoops, Locked On Women’s Basketball is here to help you take stock of all that went down. Host Howard Megdal is joined by Seton Hall head coach Tony Bozzella to recap the biggest moments from around the NCAA and check in with the Pirates.

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The conversation started by discussing yesterday’s top-25 match-ups. In case you missed it, Colorado beat LSU, 92–78, South Carolina beat Notre Dame, 100–71, and USC beat Ohio State, 83–74. Megdal and Bozzella discussed how reigning national champions LSU might bounce back from an early tough loss.

“This is a team in LSU that won at all last year, and in order to be the champion, you have to beat the champ, [so] they have justifiably started the year atop most people’s list,” Megdal said. “It is also very easy to look back and say, but for a pair of missed free throws late in the game against Utah, this is a team that loses in the sweet 16. Those types of realities mean that what was given is not guaranteed going forward.”

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As for why Seton Hall likes to kick off the season with a difficult non-conference slate, Bozzella explained how those experiences pay off in the long run, especially ahead of a tough BIG EAST season. He also emphasized the value of playing other local schools: “We want to challenge ourselves and I just think playing different styles and different teams [is] important. But for us, Rutgers is important to play every year … we need to play Princeton, another great team in Jersey … Iona won their conference championship, let’s play FDU who won their regular season last year. So let’s continue to play these [teams] in our area that are really good, [and also] generate excitement for the state of New Jersey.”

Next, the two discussed Seton Hall’s upcoming schedule, which includes a visit from Big West powerhouse UNLV and a trip to the Bahamas to take on USC and East Carolina. They’ll be led, in part, by Azana Baines, who featured on Team USA’s 3×3 Nations League Final team.

“I asked Azana what she really needed to work on, she goes, ‘my defense,’ and I’m like ‘you’re right,” Bozzella said. “She said, ‘in three-on-three I really had to put an effort in because there’s no extra help in that, you better go guard your kid. And she did, she got a lot better at that. … I really tell you, she’s a first team all conference player in any league in the country. She’s become that good. And she’s an amazing person, [so] when your leader is as humble as she is, you have a chance to have a really special year.”

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Here at The Next, in addition to the 24/7/365 written content our staff provides, we also host the daily Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast. Join us Monday through Saturday each week as we discuss all things WNBA, collegiate basketball, basketball history and much more. Listen wherever you find podcasts or watch on YouTube.

To stay up to date with every episode of the podcast, subscribe on YouTube or wherever you listen to podcasts. To read more BIG EAST news, click here! For the rest of our NCAA coverage as the season approaches, click here!

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