Protect home court and defend your territory.
A common phrase used by teams in sports when discussing what a team should do when playing at their home venue. For the Seton Hall women’s basketball team in the Tony Bozzella era, the Pirates have taken that saying to heart.
Over the past three-plus seasons Seton Hall women’s basketball has a record of 46-10 inside their home gym, Walsh Gymnasium. The record is the best in the Big East Conference since the start of the 2013-14 season. The program with the second best home record in that span is DePaul University, who holds a record of 43-10 at McGrath-Phillips Arena.
Being so dominant at home brings many advantages for a team such as the Pirates, but the biggest one is comfort. Building a championship atmosphere is difficult and one way to change a team’s culture is making sure that you win games at home. It creates a difficult environment for visiting teams to walk into.
In the season before Bozzella took over the program, the team lost seven games inside Walsh Gymnasium. In Bozzella’s first three seasons as Head Coach, he and the Pirates lost a total of nine games at home. With that impressive of a home record, there is no surprise that the team has made the postseason in each of the past three years.
Other teams around the conference have not had the same fortune as the Pirates, as they have struggled to defend home court and those difficulties have translated to frustrating seasons. Since that 2013-2014 season, Georgetown (20-21), Providence (16-30), and Butler (23-25), have a losing record at home and none have made the postseason. The other conference teams in that span; Marquette (30-19), Xavier (40-20), Creighton (32-13), St. John’s (38-13), and Villanova (33-12) have enjoyed success at their home courts and their programs have been better for it by making post season play at one point or another over the past three seasons.
Winning is not easy, but doing the best you can to win games at home will generate success because a tradition and an intimidating factor can be born. For the Pirates, Walsh Gymnasium has been that and more as other teams have strolled into South orange only to return to their homes with a loss, while SHU continues to enjoy the home cooking.