Sacred Heart and Quinnipiac Clash as NEC Rivalry Week Continues
The Storyline... The SHU women's basketball team returns to the hardwood Saturday afternoon to take part in "NEC Rivalry Week". The Pioneers will play back-to-back games against Nutmeg State rival Quinnipiac as the two teams battle for playoff position. Sacred Heart and the Bobcats take the court Saturday in a tie for third place in the Northeast Conference standings. The Pioneers will look to bounce back after a 77-59 loss at Long Island last time out, a defeat that ended a SHU four game winning streak. In each of the last two games the Pioneers have had a quartet of players eclipse double digits in scoring. Morgan Merriman poured in a career high 14 points against the Blackbirds while Alexis Campbell notched ten points versus St. Francis (NY). Quinnipiac ended a three game slide in their last outing as the Bobcats held off a SFNY upset bid in a 56-52 road victory.
Series... Sacred Heart leads the all-time series over Quinnipiac, 32-23, and has won 13 of the last 16 meetings. SHU is 17-7 against the Bobcats since joining the NEC in 1999-2000. The Pioneers have won 11-straight against Quinnipiac at home in the Pitt Center and own a 12-1 record overall versus Quinnipiac at home in division I games. The Pioneers also knocked off the Bobcats at home in the 2006 NEC Championship game in a 69-65 decision.
Let's Play to 70... Sacred Heart is 5-0 this season when reaching the 70 point plateau. The Pioneers last scored 70+ in a 73-45 rout of St. Francis (NY). SHU also holds a 0-3 record in 2010-11 when opponents notch at least 70 points. Sacred Heart is 7-2 when tallying 60-69 points and is 2-7 without reaching the 60 point mark.
Merriman Hits the Mark... Sophomore Morgan Merriman scored a career high 14 points against Long Island. The six-foot forward hit on seven-of-nine from the floor while playing 34 minutes off the bench for the Pioneers. Merriman boasts Sacred Heart's highest field goal percentage shooting 54.1 percent from the field in 2010-11.
Counting on Callan... Junior Callan Taylor is third in the NEC in scoring with 15.0 points per game and fourth in rebounding at 8.3 boards per contest. She has been even better in league games averaging a double-double with 15.1 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. Taylor has been the Pioneers leading scorer in 16 of 22 total contests in 2010-11.
Norman's Helping Hands... Freshman Ericka Norman has excelled since taking over the Pioneers starting point guard. The California native is averaging 4.4 assists per game against league opposition. Norman dished out six assists in the Pioneers loss at Long Island and has handed out 16 helpers in over the last three games. She has gone 13 straight games with multiple assists, including a career high seven versus St. Francis (NY). Norman is also chipping in 7.5 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 42.9 percent (39-91) clip from downtown this season. Cosgrove is third in the league with a 42.3 percent (47-105) mark from beyond the arc. Cosgrove is also the Sacred Heart all-time leader in career treys, currently sitting at 240 long balls in her three plus seasons wearing red and white.