Fairfield, CT – The SHU women's basketball team held Siena to just seven first half points in a 72-33 victory over the Saints Sunday afternoon. Alisa Apo (Freehold, NJ) recorded a game high 22 points in just 25 minutes of action, shooting eight-for-11 from the field (73%). The Pioneer defense forced the Saints into 25 turnovers and held the visitors to a 20 percent shooting mark for the game, including just a five percent clip in the opening half.
Sacred Heart (5-4) scored the first four points of the game on a Morgan Merriman (Seattle, WA) layup followed by a baseline jumper from Apo. The Saints scored their first points of the game at the 17:08 mark on a pair of Serena Moore free throws. The Pioneers then exploded notching the next 19 consecutive points. Maggie Cosgrove (Andover, MA) sank one of her two treys of the game to make it 15-2. The senior guard now has a program leading 206 three-pointers in her career. Apo tallied the final six points of the 19-0 run that pushed the SHU lead to 23-2.
Siena (1-6) got its only field goal of the half to halt the Sacred Heart run. Cristina Centeno buried a three for her only points of the game. Maureen Reilly (Cherry Hill, NJ) powered inside for a layup to push the Pioneer cushion back to 20 at 25-5. On the next SHU possession Apo ran through the Siena press coast-to-coast to finish a layup and draw a foul. Callan Taylor (Overland Park, KS) put in her first points of the afternoon with a three-point bucket at the 5:45 mark to make it a 30-5 affair. Taylor wrapped up the game with ten points and six rebounds, the junior has recorded double-digit points in every game this season.
The Saints scored their first point in just under four minutes on another free throw from Moore. Enjoli Bland (Queen Creek, AZ), playing in her first collegiate game, brought in her first career rebound as Moore missed the second shot at the line. Apo poured in the Pioneers final five points of the half, finishing the opening stanza with 17, the last three coming from long range with two seconds remaining. SHU took a 35-7 advantage into the intermission.
The Pioneers didn't miss a beat coming out of the locker room as Apo drilled another three on the first possession. The next up the floor it was Kiley Evans (Cazenovia, NY) who canned a shot from beyond the arc as part of the Pioneers 12-0 run to open the second half. Evans was one of three Sacred Heart players to reach double figures for the game, posting seven of her total 11 points in the second half. The final basket of the SHU surge that started the frame came on an Evans steal on an inbounds pass, the sophomore finished the play herself with a layup.
Maja Gerlyng got Siena on the board for the second half with a runner in the lane. Sacred Heart immediately responded as Evans ran the floor and scored the basket and drew a foul. The Saints then got two points on a pair of free throws from Clara Sole Anglada, marking the first time the visitors scored on back-to-back possessions. Siena then played 29 seconds of solid defense, forcing the Pioneers to inbound the ball with just one tick remaining on the shot clock. SHU found Apo on a set piece play and the Pioneer captain hit the open jumper as the buzzer sounded, increasing the lead to 54-13.
After a Saints field goal Taylor dropped in the next five points for Sacred Heart, two on a jumper followed by a conventional three point play. Later in the half the Pioneers emptied the bench as all 13 players who dressed saw the floor. Blair Koniszewski (Vienna, VA) scored five straight points, on a trey and a pair of free throws, as Sacred Heart led 69-28 with 2:57 remaining in regulation. Elise Lorenz (Santa Margarita, CA) had a layup and Kris Iovino (Murrysville, PA) hit a free throw to round the Pioneer scoring in the 72-33 victory.
Sacred Heart will look to win its third straight game as they open the Northeast Conference portion of the schedule December 20 at home against Mount St. Mary's.