Pioneers Take Down Unbeaten Albany, 61-52

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (December 1, 2010) – Sacred Heart got 17 points apiece from senior Alisa Apo (Freehold, NJ) and junior Callan Taylor (Overland Park, KS) and held Albany to 36.7% shooting to deal the Great Danes their first loss of the season, 61-52, Wednesday night in the William H. Pitt Center.  Taylor added 10 rebounds to her totals for her second double double of the season.

"This is part of our tough grueling schedule and like I told the team after the game, I was proud that we didn't back down," stated head coach Ed Swanson.  "I think Albany plays extremely hard and they are terrific defensive team.  They came in 5-0 so that says it all right there."

"A big win for us especially heading into the UConn game on Sunday," commented the head coach.

After trailing 4-2 in the opening minutes, the Pioneers used an 11-2 spurt over a four minute stretch for an early lead.  Senior Maggie Cosgrove (Andover, MA) got the run started with her first three of the night and Morgan Merriman (Seattle, WA) ended it with a runner in the lane for a 13-6 lead at the 10:53 mark. 

The Great Danes charged right back and took a 14-13 lead on a three by Melia Basavand at 9:14.  Albany went up 20-17 with just over six minutes left before the half, converting on three-straight possessions with a lay-in by Ebone Henry, a jumper by Basavand and a runner in the paint by Tabitha Makopondo. 

The SHU offense caught fire again and the Pioneers pulled back in front going up six, 28-22, thanks to a 9-2 spurt.  Taylor hit a jumper off a feed from Apo and then came down and converted a lay-up off another Apo dish to put the Pioneers up six with 1:21 left.  Albany cut it to 28-24 thanks to a Makopondo lay-up just under a minute and that's where it would stand with both teams headed into the locker room.  Albany turned it over 14 times over the first 20 minutes but held a 25-14 advantage on the glass. SHU's Taylor scored 12 points in the first half to lead all scorers.

The Pioneers came out in the second half and built their lead back to seven-points just over five minutes in.  Cosgrove and freshman Ericka Norman (Chino Hills, CA) both drilled three's and the Pioneers led 37-30 with 14:29 on the clock.  The Great Danes would cut the lead to 42-40 but SHU would respond once again as Taylor hit a long three from the wing and Merriman delivered underneath to push the lead to 47-40 at 8:09.

Albany would pull within four with just under five to play but could cut it no closer as the Pioneers got a lay-up from Apo at 2:03 and then hit seven of eight at the free throw line in the closing minutes to ice the game away.

Cosgrove found double digits with 11 points as the Pioneers evened their record at 3-3.  The Pioneers went to the free throw line 20 times, making 14 in the win. 

"We had some good chemistry tonight," said Taylor.  "I looked up at the scoreboard a few times and it seemed like we should have been up by more than we were.  We kept fighting, kept our composure and got the win."

Albany's Henry finished with 16 points and four rebounds while Julie Forster pulled down 11 rebounds.  The Great Danes shot just 13.6% from behind the arc, making just three of 22.

The Pioneers return to the court this Sunday, December 5th when the take on the #1 ranked team in the nation in the Connecticut Huskies.  Tip-off is 1:00 pm at the XL Center in Hartford.

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