Anthony Bozzella, head coach of Seton Hall University women’s basketball, said this team is a pleasure to coach. After a rough 2016-17 season, the Pirates are having a decent go of it this year. Currently 15-11 overall and 7-8 in Big East conference play, the team has dealt with injury to one starter and the departure of another but has brought positive energy to practice and games.

“We play with a lot of fight and a lot of determination,” said Bozzella, now in his fifth year at Seton Hall, his alma mater. “I’m proud of the players. It’s the most enjoyable group that I’ve coached in years. We really are getting the most we can out of these kids.”

The Pirates are the only team in the Big East to lose two starters—redshirt sophomore forward Taylor Brown, currently out with a knee injury, and graduate student forward Donnaizha Fountain, who parted ways with the team in mid-January.

“To our team’s credit, we’ve all bonded together and said we’re going to find a way to win,” said Bozzella.

In just her first season at Seton Hall, Brown was making a significant impact as the third-leading scorer and rebounder. Hopes are high she’ll be back in action by the Pirates’ next home game, Feb. 23, versus Marquette University.

Senior guard JaQuan Jackson is having a good year, averaging 11.9 points per game. Bozzella said she has stepped up as a leader and is giving a great effort. He said he’s proud not only of her play but also of how she has brought her teammates together. “Trying to take accountability for everything,” he explained. “It’s a big positive.”

Next up for Seton Hall is a game with local rivals, St. John’s University, at St. John’s Friday night. The Pirates defeated the Red Storm 62-57 in their last matchup. Overcoming adversity is part of building for the future. Jackson is the only senior on the team, so the rest will carry their experience to next season. Bozzella also praises point guard Inja Butina for her selflessness.

“These kids give it their all every day,” he emphasized. “We’ve had some great teams, but at the end of the day they’re giving everything they can. It’s all I ask.”