The Storyline... The Sacred Heart women's basketball team looks to win a season best fifth straight game as they return to Brooklyn, NY Monday night to face Long Island. In its latest trip to Brooklyn SHU dominated St. Francis (NY), routing the Terriers 73-45 Saturday afternoon. Callan Taylor led the way notching 23 points in her fifth 20+ point performance of the season. Sacred Heart forced 26 SFNY turnovers, which translated into 36 total points for the Pioneers. Long Island was the preseason favorite in the NEC based on the annual coaches' poll. But the Blackbirds got off to a slow 1-3 start in conference play. LIU has found its grove and won three of its last four, including a 12 point triumph over Quinnipiac last time out. Monday's contest holds extra importance in the playoff race as it will be the only meeting in 2010-11 between the Blackbirds and Pioneers.
Series... Sacred Heart is 13-10 all-time against Long Island, 12-10 in the program's division I era. The Pioneers are 4-5 versus the Blackbirds on the road in Brooklyn, NY. LIU took the lone meeting between the two sides in 2009-10, a 66-56 decision in Fairfield, CT. SHU holds a 2-2 mark against Long Island in postseason matchups with each side holding a victory in a NEC tournament semifinal matchup.
Scouting the Blackbirds... Long Island is the top rebounding team in the Northeast Conference, pulling down 42.6 boards per game. LIU is averaging six more rebounds per game than opponents, led by Ashley Palmer's 8.9 boards per game. Palmer also ranks fifth in the NEC and first on her team in scoring with 14.1 points per game. Kiara Evans and Chelsi Johnson also average double-digits in points for LIU at 11.3 and 10.5, respectively. Long Island is 7-3 on its home floor in 2010-11 but are just 3-2 at home in NEC contests. The Blackbirds reached the 2010 NEC championship game but fell to fifth seeded Saint Francis (PA).
Counting on Callan... Junior Callan Taylor is third in the NEC in scoring with 15.2 points per game and fifth in rebounding at 8.3 boards per contest. She has been even better in league games averaging a double-double with 15.5 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Taylor has been the Pioneers leading scorer in 16 of 22 total contests in 2010-11. Last time out the Kansas native exploded for 23 points, including 15 in the first half in the Pioneers rout of St. Francis (NY).
Campbell Continues To Improve... Junior Alexis Campbell has arguably played the best two games of her collegiate career in the Pioneers last two contests. In her first start of the season against Robert Morris Campbell scored eight points and seemed to be everywhere on the defensive end. Last time out versus the Terriers she was even better, posting career highs of 10 points and five steals.
Norman's Helping Hands... Freshman Ericka Norman has excelled since taking over the Pioneers starting point guard. The California native is averaging 4.3 assists per game against league opposition. Norman dished out five assists in both of the Pioneers wins over first-place opposition last weekend. She has gone 12 straight games with multiple helpers, including a career high seven versus St. Francis (NY). Norman is also chipping in 7.1 points per contests in NEC contests.
Keeping Them Down... Sacred Heart is 11-0 this season when they lead heading into the intermission. The Pioneers are a perfect 12-0 in 2010-11 when having an advantage with ten minutes remaining in regulation. SHU holds a 14-1 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-three in the NEC in three-point field goal percentage in 2010-11. Taylor is tops in the conference shooting at a 44.7 percent (38-85) clip from downtown this season. Cosgrove is third in the league with a 43.8 percent (46-105) mark from beyond the arc. Cosgrove is also the Sacred Heart all-time leader in career treys, currently sitting at 239 long balls in her three plus seasons wearing red and white.