The Storyline... The Pioneers travel to Grand Bahama Island in the Bahamas for the Travelers Junaknoo Jam this weekend. Sacred Heart takes on Auburn in the first round of the tournament Friday at 12:00 pm. Depending on the outcome of that game SHU will face either Seton Hall or Boston College in the next round on Saturday. The Pioneers will play in the Lucaya Division of the tournament, the name of the city in which the teams are staying. There is a second section, called Freeport, that will also crown a champion but will have no impact on the Lucaya Division. In the opening matchup both the Pioneers and Tigers are looking to snap a small losing streak. Auburn is 1-3 and has lost three straight while SHU has dropped back-to-back contests since its opening night victory over Saint Peter's.
The Venues... Both of Sacred Heart's games at the Junkanoo Jam will be played at St. George's High School, a recently built gymnasium on the island. The facility can hold 1,200 people and will also share practice duties with the Grand Bahama YMCA.
Scouting the Tigers... Auburn is 1-3 on the young season after finishing the 2009-10 campaign with a 15-16 record. The Tigers downed Mercer 79-61 to start the year but have lost three straight to Florida State, Duke, and South Florida. Auburn currently has two players averaging double figures in scoring this season. Jordan Greenleaf leads thd squad with 13.0 points per game while Blanche Alverson sits at 11.0 points per game. Greenleaf has also proved to be a force on the glass, averaging 9.3 boards. Opponents are currently shooting 44% from the floor and 37% from three agasint Auburn. The Tigers are also averaging nine steals and 3.5 blocks per game.
Scouting the Eagles... Boston College is a perfect 4-0 this year and has posted convincing wins over Boston University, Hartford, Dartmouth, and Vermont. The Eagles are outscoring its opponents by 26 points per game and have notched at least 84 points in every tilt this season. At least one Eagle has eclipsed 20 points in each game and has dominated the glass, out rebounding opponents by 16 boards per game. Carolyn Swords is off to a monster start in 2010-11, averaging 17.8 points and 13.5 rebounds per game. The senior center is shooting 70 percent from the floor and had 18 rebounds in the Eagles' season opener with Boston University. Boston College turns the ball over 19 times per contest but also grabs 15 steals. As a team BC has shot the ball at a 50 percent clip, 40 percent from three, so far this season.
Scouting the Pirates... Seton Hall is 3-2 entering the Junkanoo Jam having won its last two games before traveling to the Bahamas. The Pirates topped UMass 61-58 and Army 50-40 in the week leading up to the tournament. Kandice Green is averaging a double-double with 11.6 points and 10.6 rebounds per game in 2010-11. Jasmine Crew paces the squad overall in scoring with 12.4 and 2.2 assists per contest. Seton Hall is averaging 18.2 turnovers per game and only hands out 8.0 assists. The Pirates only have a scoring margin of .2 points this season and hold a rebounding edge of 1.8 boards per game. Seton Hall has not played a road game since its season opener at Florida Gulf Coast, a 64-57 loss.
Taylor Leads the Way... Junior Callan Taylor leads the Pioneers averaging 16.7 points in the first three games of 2010-11. Taylor ranks second on the squad with 6.7 rebounds per game. In Sacred Heart's opening night win over Saint Peter's Taylor went a perfect nine-for-nine from the free throw line. She followed that performance by pacing the Pioneers in scoring each of the last two games. The Kansas native was a second-team All-NEC selection last season and ranked first in the league in rebounding, the first Pioneer to accomplish that feat.
First Half Struggles... The Pioneers have yet to hold a lead heading into the intermission in 2010-11. SHU has posted percentages of 33, 33, and 21 in the first half of games this season. Comparatively SHU has recorded shooting clips of 47%, 41%, and 38% in the final twenty minutes of regulation.
Apo Continues To Climb All-Time Lists... Senior captain Alisa Apo has posted 13 assists in the first three games of the season to reach 365 helpers in her career. In her six assist performance against Saint Peter's she passed Elaine Agosti for second all-time in SHU history. Apo needs just 30 more assists in 2010-11 to have the most assists in Pioneer history, a mark currently held by Kerri Burke's 394 assists. Apo also moved past Kim Filia for fourth in scoring all-time at SHU with her showing against Saint Joseph's. The senior guard now stands at 1,447 points in her career. Next in Apo's sights is her two year teammate Kaitlin Sowinski, who stands at 1,541 career points.
Merriman off the Bench... Despite not yet earning a nod in the starting five sophomore Morgan Merriman has played at least 26 minutes in every game this season. Merriman is averaging 8.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in 2010-11. She dropped in a career best 12 points last weekend against Saint Joseph's.
No Extra Time... Sacred Heart made its way through the entire 2009-10 schedule without playing a single overtime game. The Pioneers have not played an extra period of basketball in 63 straight contests dating back to November 22, 2008. In that game SHU lost a heart breaking 59-58 decision to cross-town rival Fairfield in the Arena at Harbor Yard. The Pioneers last played an overtime game at home back in a Northeast Conference semifinal on March 8, 2005 against Robert Morris. The Colonials earned a 68-62 victory in that contest to advance to the NEC championship game. Sacred Heart last won an overtime game February 26, 2004 in a 99-94 affair against Monmouth that needed double overtime to produce a winner.