December 22, 2010

Sacred Heart Picks Up Fourth Straight Win; Downs Harvard, 69-60

Cambridge, MA - Maggie Cosgrove (Andover, MA) buried five treys in the first half as the SHU women's basketball team picked up their fourth straight win with a 69-60 triumph over Harvard Wednesday afternoon. Kiley Evans (Cazenovia, NY) and Cosgrove each dropped in 17 points to lead the Sacred Heart offense.  The Pioneers forced 20 Crimson turnovers overall and shot 52 percent in the second half en route to the road victory.

"I thought we showed a lot of grit and tenacity on the defensive end today," commented head coach Ed Swanson.  "We battled through adversity in the second half and held a great offensive team to 60 points on their home floor to get a good win."

Sacred Heart (7-4) erased an early 4-0 lead built by the Crimson in the opening minutes as Callan Taylor (Overland Park, KS) got the Pioneers on the board with a layup at the 17:40 mark.  SHU would then force a quick turnover and Taylor buried her first three of the game to give Sacred Heart its first lead of the game at 5-4.  Later in the half the Pioneers would have four straight possessions result in three points. Cosgrove hit a trio of shots from beyond the arc and Maureen Reilly (Cherry Hill, NJ) chipped in a trey of her own to push the Pioneer advantage to double digits at 22-10.

Harvard (5-4) cut the SHU advantage to nine as Jasmine Evans finished a three-point play in traffic to make it 24-15.  Another Cosgrove three extended the lead to 30-21 before Harvard came roaring back with seven points in under a minute.  Christine Clark capped the Crimson run with a three from the left wing.  Cosgrove snapped the Harvard surge with her fifth three-pointer of the half.  In the final minute of the opening period Evans grabbed an offensive rebound and finished a SHU fast break as the Pioneers would end up taking a 35-33 lead into the intermission.

The Crimson shot 50 percent (14-28) in the first half but the Pioneers tallied seven treys at a 41 percent clip.  Cosgrove's 15 led all scorers at halftime while Emma Markley paced the Crimson offense with 10 points.  Sacred Heart also held the advantage on the glass after twenty minutes, grabbing 19 rebounds to 16 for Harvard.

"Maggie had a great shooting day and she showed great leadership for us in the second half," said Swanson.

The Pioneers quickly scored the first four points of the second half on layups from Evans and Ericka Norman (Chino Hills, CA).  Clark answered for Harvard with a three but Evans responded with a trey of her own on the next trip up the floor.   The Crimson regained control and rattled off ten straight points to take a 46-42 lead.  During the spurt Victoria Lippert gave Harvard its first lead of the half by hitting from downtown.

Morgan Merriman (Seattle, WA) put in Sacred Heart's first field goal in eight minutes with a mid-range jumper at the 11:28 mark.  Kris Iovino (Murrysville, PA) made a good baseline move and finished a layup to knot the game at 46-46.  The Pioneers continued what would become a 10-0 run of their own with an Evans trey and a reverse lay-in from Merriman.  Christine Matera ended the run with a three for Harvard to cut the SHU advantage to 52-49.  Three minutes later SHU would reestablish a six point cushion with inside baskets from Evans and Reilly.

Sacred Heart went up 59-51 with 4:56 remaining in regulation as Norman stepped in the passing lane and picked up a steal on the defensive end.  The freshman guard then hit Evans with a homerun pass to finish the play with a fast break layup.  The Pioneers allowed just one field goal in the next three minutes and held a 59-53 lead with under two minutes to play.  On the next possession Merriman came up with a big offensive rebound to allow SHU to keep the ball with 1:35 on the clock.

The Crimson were forced to foul Cosgrove who knocked down both ends of a one-on-one to make it a 61-53 affair with 1:20 left.  After a Harvard bucket the Pioneers broke the press for an easy Norman layup.  Merriman, Taylor, and Evans all converted a pair of free throws as Sacred Heart sealed the 69-60 victory down the stretch.