Sacred Heart Hosts First-Place Robert Morris Monday Night
The Storyline... The Pioneer women's basketball team looks to win its third straight game Monday night as the Robert Morris Colonials come into the Pitt Center for a Northeast Conference showdown. Last time out Sacred Heart knocked off a Saint Francis (PA) team that had been tied for first place in the NEC. Senior Maggie Cosgrove buried a triple to break a tie with 36 seconds remaining as SHU posted a 64-61 triumph over the Red Flash. Monday night SHU faces a Colonial squad that sits alone atop the league standings. This will be the lone regular season meeting between Sacred Heart and Robert Morris in 2010-11, two programs that have battled in classic matchups in recent years. The Colonials are winners of seven-of-eight, including an eight point win over Quinnipiac Saturday afternoon.
Series... Sacred Heart is 13-7 all-time against the Colonials and 7-3 versus Robert Morris in the Pitt Center. RMU took the only meeting between the two teams last year in Moon Township, PA with a convincing 71-43 win. The Pioneers are 0-2 in their history against Robert Morris in the NEC tournament, falling to the Colonials 68-66 in a disappointing finish to a dramatic 2007 championship match-up.
Scouting the Colonials... Robert Morris has compiled an 8-1 mark in NEC play after completing a tough non-conference schedule with a 3-7 record. The Colonials rank second in the league in field goal percentage (40.2%) and fourth in field goal percentage defense (37.3%). Robert Morris is also third in the NEC in rebounding with over 40 boards per game. The only statistical weakness for RMU is at the free throw line where the Colonials are just 62.7 percent in 2010-11. Four Robert Morris players are averaging double figures this season with Yohanna Morton leading the way at 14.3 points per game. Head Coach Sal Buscaglia has not changed his starting five since the start of the season.
Norman's Helping Hands... Freshman Ericka Norman has excelled since taking over the Pioneers starting point guard. The California native is averaging just under four assists per game against league opposition. Last time out Norman dished out five assists in the Pioneers victory over Saint Francis (PA). She has gone ten straight games with multiple helpers, including a career high seven against Wagner. Norman is also chipping in 7.7 points per contests in NEC contests.
Not So Bland... Enjoli Bland continues to show improvement on the court as she approaches 100 percent after a shoulder injury that sidelined her at the start of the season. Bland grabbed a career high six rebounds, five in the first half, against the Red Flash. She also scored four points against SFU with both baskets coming as a result of one of her four total offensive rebounds. Bland has now started three straight games and played a career high 23 minutes last time out.
Keeping Them Down... Sacred Heart is 9-0 this season when they lead heading into the intermission. The Pioneers are a perfect 10-0 in 2010-11 when having an advantage with ten minutes remaining in regulation. SHU holds a 12-1 mark when leading with 5:00 minutes to play with the only loss coming against Wagner as SHU led by one late after overcoming a 10 point Seahawk advantage in the second half.
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. Taylor is sixth in the conference shooting at a 40.3 percent (29-72) clip from downtown this season. Cosgrove is seventh in the league with a 40.2 percent (37-92) mark from beyond the arc. Cosgrove is also the Sacred Heart all-time leader in career treys, currently sitting at 230 long balls in her three plus seasons wearing red and white.
Off the Bench... Junior Alexis Campbell and sophomore Morgan Merriman have played well off the bench for the Pioneers as of late. Campbell tied a career high with eight points and seemed to be all over the court defensively against Saint Francis (PA). Merriman has scored 14 points and has gone an impressive 7-for-8 (87.5%) from the field in the Pioneers last two games.
Protect the Pitt... The Pioneers are 6-2 at home this season, 3-0 against NEC opposition. Since the William H. Pitt Center opened in 1997 SHU has won 82 percent (154-35) of their games at home. Since the 2003-04 campaign Sacred Heart is 63-7 in the Pitt Center against Northeast Conference opposition, including a pair of NEC Championship game triumphs.