The Storyline... The Sacred Heart women's basketball team returns home to the Pitt Center for a Saturday afternoon matchup with Saint Francis (PA). The game will kick-off "Think Pink" day at the Pitt Center in which players and fans will wear pink to support breast cancer awareness. The Pioneers head into the game on the heels of a 55-46 victory on the road against Mount St. Mary's. SHU has never finished lower than third since joining the Northeast Conference but currently sits tied for fourth in the NEC standings, Saturday's game marks the midpoint of the NEC schedule. Saint Francis (PA) has won seven of its last eight including back-to-back home wins versus Long Island and St. Francis (NY).
Series... The Pioneers are 10-8 all-time against the Red Flash and own a 7-2 record in the Pitt Center against Saint Francis (PA). SHU had won five in a row against SFPA until the two teams met last February in a 75-69 Red Flash victory in Loretto, PA. Sacred Heart knocked off Saint Francis (PA) in the 2009 Northeast Conference championship game, 74-66, as the Pioneers polished off the second-ever perfect NEC season.
Scouting the Red Flash... Saint Francis (PA) boasts the Northeast Conference's top offense, scoring 68.2 points per game. However, the Red Flash are also allowing a NEC worst 69.2 points per game. Saint Francis (PA) also leads the league in both field goal percentage and three-point field goal percentage in 2010-11. Earlier this season SFPA pulled an upset over Pittsburgh of the BIG EAST Conference, knocking off the Panthers 85-71. Samantha Leach is averaging a NEC best 16.6 points per game this year.
Counting on Callan... Junior Callan Taylor recorded her sixth double-double of the season against Mount St. Mary's, posting 14 points and 13 rebounds. Taylor is third in the NEC in scoring with 14.7 points per game and eighth in rebounding at 8.1 boards per contest. She has been even better in league games averaging a double-double with 14.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. Taylor has been the Pioneers leading scorer in 14 of 19 total contests in 2010-11.
Kiley Comes Alive... Sophomore Kiley Evans tied a season high with 17 points in SHU's 55-46 victory over the Mount last time out. Evans has now recorded double-digit points in three straight games and is averaging 9.5 points overall this season. Evans has also been extremely efficient at the free throw line shooting 79 percent in 2010-11 and has knocked down 21 straight from the line.
Taking Charity... The Pioneers rank first in the NEC at the free throw line, knocking down 70.9 percent of their attempts this season. Callan Taylor leads the NEC individually at the line shooting 93.8 percent (45-48) at the charity stripe. Sacred Heart went 8-for-10 in their last game, a 55-46 victory at Mount St. Mary's. SHU has posted a 6-1 record in games they have reached the 75 percent plateau at the free throw line.
SHU Sharpshooters... Maggie Cosgrove and Callan Taylor both rank in the top-ten in the NEC in three-point field goal percentage in 2010-11. Cosgrove is sixth in the league with a 39.8 percent (35-88) mark from beyond the arc. Taylor is seventh in the conference shooting at a 39.7 percent (27-68) clip from downtown this season. Cosgrove is also the Sacred Heart all-time leader in career treys, currently sitting at 228 long balls in her three plus seasons wearing red and white.
Freshman Starters... Sacred Heart has started a pair of freshman in each of the last two games. Ericka Norman is averaging 7.1 points per game versus league opponents as the squad's starting point guard. Norman has also proven to be the best SHU defender and ranks 10th in the NEC in steals per game at 2.63. Enjoli Bland has made the first two starts of her collegiate career and has scored in three straight games. Bland continues to make her way back from a shoulder injury that sidelined her at the start of the 2010-11 campaign.
Buzzer Bummers... In each of the last two Sacred Heart losses the Pioneers have fallen victim to the final buzzer. Last Saturday versus Wagner Kelly Clark hit her first career trey with less than a second remaining to hand Sacred Heart a one point loss. In the previous contest Ericka Norman was unable to get off her shot before the buzzer in a 65-62 defeat at home against Central Connecticut State. Norman would hit the long range three as time expired but the referees correctly waved off the shot to end the game.