December 27, 2010

Pioneers Close Calendar Year Tomorrow Against St. Bonaventure

Complete Game Notes (PDF)

The Storyline...  The SHU women's basketball team returns to action after the holiday break for its last non-conference game of the season in a Tuesday afternoon clash with St. Bonaventure.  The Pioneers are 4-1 at home this year and enter the tilt with the Bonnies on a four game winning streak.  Last time out Maggie Cosgrove buried five three-pointers in the first half of the Pioneers 69-60 road victory over Harvard.  SHU is 5-1 in the month of December with the only loss coming at the hands of national #1 Connecticut.  St. Bonaventure has been equally hot, winning five of their last six, most recently defeating Texas-San Antonio 46-37 at the UTSA Holiday Classic.  The Bonnies will return home to take on #7 West Virginia on Thursday.  St. Bonaventure is 4-2 on the road in 2010-11 including two victories with opponents failing to break the 40 point mark.

Series... The Pioneers and Bonnies meeting in 2010-11 will be the first-ever clash between the programs.  Sacred Heart is 1-1 this season against opponents they faced for the first time.  In other inaugural series match-ups this season SHU defeated Auburn 65-53 and fell to Saint Joseph's 67-49.

Scouting the Bonnies...  St. Bonaventure boasts the 18th best defense in the country, limiting opponents to under 53 points per game.  Megan Van Tatenhove paces the Bonnie attack with 14.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.  Jessica Jenkins in the squads top deep threat, shooting 37.3% (30-89) from beyond the arc in 2010-11.  St. Bonaventure reached the second round of the 2010 postseason WNIT, knocking off last year's NEC regular season champion Robert Morris in the first round.  SBU is also one of the top free throw shooting teams in the country, hitting at an 80 percent clip from the line.  This year the Bonnies were picked to finish eighth in the 14 team A-10 preseason poll.  

SHU Against the A-10... The Pioneers are 1-9 (.100) all-time against opponents who currently reside in the Atlantic 10.  Of present A-10 teams SHU has faced URI and La Salle the most often, posting a 0-3 record against both squads. Sacred Heart's best head-to-head in the A-10 comes against Massachusetts as the two schools have split their only two meetings.  The 61-46 Pioneer victory at the Pitt Center back on November 21, 2003 marks the program's only victory over Atlantic 10 opposition.

Taylor Closes In On 1,000 Points... Junior Callan Taylor, who has played just 73 games in her collegiate career, needs just 14 more points to reach the 1,000 plateau. The Kansas native has averaged 13.5 points per game in her career, including a team leading 15.0 pace in 2010-11.  Taylor would become just the 15th player in program history to reach the 1,000 point mark.

Swanson Approaches 350...  Head coach Ed Swanson needs just two more victories to reach the 350 milestone for his career.  Swanson has spent his entire 21 year coaching career at his alma mater and is by far the winningest coach in program history.  During his 11 years in the Northeast Conference Swanson has become the all-time leader in league victories with 151.

Cosgrove Explodes Against Harvard...  Senior Maggie Cosgrove knocked down five first half threes as the Pioneers defeated Harvard 69-60.  Cosgrove finished the 2009-10 campaign among the nation's leaders in three-point field goal percentage.  The Andover, MA native is Sacred Heart's all-time leader in three-point field goals with 212.  Cosgrove still has more than half of her senior season to play as she continues to put distance between second place, Ashley Kohl (173).  

Good Perimeter "D"... The Pioneers are limiting teams to just 27 percent shooting from beyond the arc in 2010-11.  Only Siena, who the Pioneers defeated by 39 points, have shot over 30 percent from three-point range against SHU this season.  The Pioneers best three-point defensive performance came against Yale who managed just 22.2 percent (4-18).

Taking Charity... Sacred Heart ranks first in the Northeast Conference in free throw shooting, 71.1% (123-173).  The Pioneers have been especially efficient from the line as of late, compiling at least a 70 percent clip in five of their last six.  Callan Taylor leads SHU at the charity stripe, knocking down 25 of 26 attempts (96.2%), which ranks seventh in the nation.

The Coaches...  Ed Swanson (SHU '89) is in his 21st season as head coach at his alma mater.  Swanson posts a 348-236 record in his career at Sacred Heart.  His teams have a 222-117 record since joining the Division I ranks in 1999-00.  Swanson was inducted in to the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009 and is the program's longest tenured coach and all-time leader in coaching wins (348).  He has been named the NEC Coach of the Year three times and is the all-time leader in regular season NEC wins (151).  Jim Crowley (Keuka '93) enters his 15th season at St. Bonaventure and has led the Bonnies to back-to-back appearances in the postseason WNIT.  Crowley was named the A-10 coach of the year in 2008-09 after leading St. Bonaventure to a program record 23 wins.  SBU has had four consecutive winning years under Crowley, including back-to-back 20 win campaigns.