Fairfield, CT - Callan Taylor (Overland Park, KS) finished with a game high 19 points but the SHU women's basketball team fell to Saint Joseph's 67-49 in a non-conference contest Tuesday night. In the second half Alisa Apo (Freehold, NJ) surpassed Kim Filia for fourth on the Pioneer all-time scoring list. The senior guard now stands at 1,440 points in her career. Michelle Baker paced the Hawks offense with 17 points as SJU recorded only 10 total assists but shot 50% from the floor to earn the victory.
Saint Joseph's (2-0) claimed an eight point lead in the early stages of the second half as Katie Kuester dropped in a three from the right wing. The Hawks made it a 40-29 game with their next possession on a banked three ball off the hand of Dominique Bryant. SJU extended its cushion to 15 with 10:00 remaining in regulation on a baseline jumper from Erin Shields, making it a 50-35 affair.
Freshman Blair Koniszewski (Vienna, VA) buried her first collegiate shot, a three-pointer, to cut the SHU deficit to 52-40. Morgan Merriman (Seattle, WA) finished a layup and drew a foul on the next SHU possession to bring the Pioneers back within 10. The Hawks would rally and used an 8-2 spurt over the next four minutes to take a 60-44 advantage with 4:37 to play.
Sacred Heart (1-1) notched five points in the final four minutes but Saint Joseph's cruised down the stretch to a 67-49 win. Saint Joseph's shot a blistering 59% from the field in the second half while the Pioneers totaled 19-of-52 from the floor (37%) for the night and struggled behind the arc to the tune of just two-for-14 (15%).
The Pioneers opened the scoring with the game's first basket on a three point bucket from Taylor. SHU would manage just one more trey the remainder of the game and went without one the rest of the first half. The Hawks responded with nine unanswered points before a KIley Evans (Cazenovia, NY) pull-up jumper ended the run. SJU pushed the lead to nine at 16-7 as Bryant drained her first three at the 12:22 mark.
Alexis Campbell (Ashburn, VA) provided a spark to reenergize Sacred Heart as the junior guard stripped the SJU point guard and ran the floor, eventually finishing a tough lay-up in traffic. The Pioneers regained the momentum and closed out the half with a 14-5. SHU forced the Hawks into six turnovers in the final 6:37 of the opening half, including three on consecutive possessions.
Sacred Heart had a chance to knot the game before halftime but missed a rushed three ball at the buzzer. The Pioneers went into the locker room trailing by just a three point margin at 27-24. Taylor led all scorers at the intermission with 11 points while freshman Ericka Norman (Chino Hills, CA) racked up four assists. The Pioneers shot 33 percent, 10-for-30, from the floor in the opening stanza while Saint Joseph's shot at a 40% clip, 10-for-25.
Merriman recorded career highs with 12 points and played 32 minutes. The SHU forward is off to a strong start in her sophomore season, shooting 64% (9-for-14) off the bench for the Pioneers in the first two games of 2010-11. The Sacred Heart bench outscored its Saint Joseph's counterparts 18-15. The Hawks held the edge in points in the paint, 36-20, and in second chance opportunities, 14-2.
The women's basketball team returns to action next Monday, November 22 as SHU takes to the road for a meeting with instate rival Hartford. Tip-off is set for 7:00 pm.