Hackensack, NJ – Ten Pioneers found their way onto the scoreboard, including 15 points from Callan Taylor (Overland Park, KS), as the SHU women's basketball team downed the Knights 65-39 Friday night. The Pioneers forced 23 FDU turnovers and held the Knights to just 24 percent shooting for the night to snap Fairleigh Dickinson's six game winning streak. The victory was number 350 in the collegiate coaching career of Pioneer head coach Ed Swanson.
"I'm more happy that we are off to a 3-0 start in conference play and are in a good rhythm overall," said Swanson after the win. "We are hitting our stride as a team and that's more important to me than a milestone."
Sacred Heart (9-5, 3-0 NEC) got on the board first as Maggie Cosgrove (Andover, MA) buried a trey with the shot clock expiring 1:14 into the game. The Pioneers would open up a 7-0 lead on a Mauren Reilly (Cherry Hill, NJ) layup followed by a Taylor jumper. The Knights got their first bucket at the 15:40 mark as Mariyah Laury hit a straight away three. Alexis Campbell (Asburn, VA) got an easy basket in transition on a pass from Ericka Norman (Chino Hills, CA) as SHU held a 9-6 advantage eight minutes into the first half.
Morgan Meriman (Seattle, WA) drew a foul and got the basket to put SHU up 14-6 one possession after Cosgrove hit her second three-pointer. Merriman provided the Pioneers with their next four points as Sacred Heart took a double digit lead at 18-6. Taylor hit a straight-away three and Reilly worked an easy lay-in to cap a 17-0 run and give the Pioneers a 26-6 cushion.
Fairleigh Dickinson (9-5, 2-1 NEC) got its first field goal in over ten minutes as Desiree Crawford knocked down a jumper with 4:05 remaining in the half. Amy Longo made it five straight for FDU on a trey that put the game at 27-11. Taylor had four of the Pioneers final five points of the half as SHU took a 32-15 advantage into the intermission.
The Pioneers held the Knights to just 19 percent shooting (5-26) in the first half. Sacred Heart shot 40 percent (12-30) in the first twenty minutes while Taylor led all scorers with 11 points at the half. SHU forced Fairleigh Dickinson into 12 turnovers and held a 23-21 rebounding advantage at halftime.
"We have become a balanced team and I really thought our defense played great tonight," commented Swanson. "Everyone came into the game and contributed with what they are good at."
Reilly got the first points of the second half as she put in a layup off of a nice feed from Kiley Evans (Cazenovia, NY). Evans finished with a career high six assists for the night. Reilly would return the favor three minutes later as she supplied Taylor with an assist to make the score 40-19. Jasmyra Saunders responded for the Knights with a trey from the right wing on the next possession.
The SHU defense continued to disrupt the Fairleigh Dickinson offense as the Knights put in just two field goals in the first eight minutes of the half. Norman stripped the Knight point guard and went coast-to-coast for an easy layup to make it 46-24. The Pioneers extended the lead to 53-28 on back-to-back jumpers from Cosgrove and Campbell.
Campbell gave Sacred Heart a 30 point lead with 6:15 remaining in regulation as the junior guard finished a conventional three-point play, drawing a foul on a fast break layup. Enjoli Bland (Queen Creek, AZ) and Elise Lorenz (Santa Margarita, CA) both came off the bench for baskets late as the Pioneers cruised down the stretch for a 65-39 victory.
The Pioneers have now won 15 straight meetings with the Knights and improve to 19-1 all-time against Fairleigh Dickinson. Sacred Heart finished the game shooting 42 percent from the floor and 31 percent from the beyond the arc. SHU returns to action Monday night as they return to New Jersey for a Northeast Conference tilt with the Monmouth Hawks.