Fairfield, CT - Kiley Evans (Cazenovia, NY) posted her second career double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds as the SHU women's basketball team defeated Saint Peter's 65-48 in their first game of the 2010-11 season. Senior Alisa Apo (Freehold, NJ) notched 16 points and 10 boards to record a double-double of her own. Callan Taylor (Overland Park, KS) was clutch at the free throw line, making nine-of-nine, including critical shots down the stretch in her 17 point performance.
"Kiley had a great game for us and is coming off a really solid freshman season," said head coach Ed Swanson. "She has really stepped her game up and I believe she has the potential to be a star."
Saint Peter's (0-1) took a quick 6-2 lead in the opening minutes of the first half with three-point buckets coming from Jynae Judson and Khadijah Young. The Pioneers responded with five straight points on a trey from Apo followed by a pair of free throws from Evans. The Peahens surged back in front by scoring the next 14 points to make it a 20-7 affair. Apo broke up the run by hitting two free throws, making it 20-9.
Sacred Heart (1-0) snapped an eight minute drought without a field goal when senior Maggie Cosgrove (Andover, MA) drained one of her three treys of the night. Apo cut the SHU deficit to six as she drove the lane for a basket and a foul to complete the conventional three-point play. Two minutes later Evans forced a steal on the defensive end and finished the play on the fast break to bring SHU within two at 22-20.
The Peahens used another three from Judson as they extended the cushion back to seven points. Taylor knocked down both ends of a one-on-one for her first points of the game to close the gap to 27-22. Saint Peter's notched the final basket of the half on a layup to take a 29-22 lead into the locker room at halftime. Both teams had problems holding onto the ball in the opening 20 minutes as SHU committed 15 turnovers while the Peahens turned it over 10 times.
SHU exploded out of the locker room with five points in the first 29 seconds of the second half, all from Taylor to make it 29-27. The Pioneers finished the comeback and knotted the game at 31-31 two minutes later as Apo fought through a double-team for a tough layup. Cosgrove stuffed a three at the 16:30 to give SHU a 34-33 advantage, its first lead since the opening stages of the first half.
The next three baskets would all be Pioneer three's as Evans, Cosgrove, and Apo hit the net to give Sacred Heart a 43-33 lead with 12:00 remaining in regulation. A Judson layup 21 seconds later ended the Pioneers 12-0 run as Saint Peter's cut its deficit to single digits at 43-35. Saint Peter's surged back into the game with a 9-0 run, capped off by a Aminah Davis three-point play to cut the Pioneer lead to 48-46 with under six minutes to play.
Morgan Merriman (Seattle, WA) ended the SPC streak with a layup while Taylor added two free throws shortly after to extend the Sacred Heart cushion back to six at 52-46. Taylor drained two more from the charity stripe to push the lead to 54-46. An Apo lay-in gave SHU a ten point advantage with under three minutes to play. Evans and Apo both tacked on points down the stretch as Sacred Heart closed out the 65-48 win.
The Pioneers shot 41% from the field while holding the Peahens to 33%, including a 21% clip in the second half. Sacred Heart finished the night 16-for-20 from the free throw line compared to just seven trips to the line for Saint Peter's. Merriman tallied six points, three assists, and two blocks off the bench for SHU.
The Pioneer women's basketball team returns to action at home this Tuesday for a 7:00 pm tilt against Saint Joseph's.