Sacred Heart Comeback Falls Short at Quinnipiac, 61-56

Hamden, CT – The SHU women's basketball came back from an 11 point halftime deficit but eventually fell on the road to Quinnipiac 61-56 Saturday afternoon.  Morgan Merriman (Seattle, WA) improved her career best for the second straight game, dropping in 16 points against the Bobcats.  Callan Taylor (Overland Park, KS) notched her eighth double-double of the season with 14 points and 15 rebounds.

Quinnipiac (12-12, 9-4 NEC) got off to a quick start notching the first six points of the afternoon on layups.  Ericka Norman (Chino Hills, CA) got the Pioneers on the board at the 17:02 mark with a tough basket on the inside that also drew a foul.  Alisa Apo (Freehold, NJ) entered the game four minutes into the opening half, her first action since suffering a knee injury against Harvard on December 22.  Apo played eight minutes and scored one point before reinjuring her knee with 3:47 left in the period.

Sacred Heart (14-10, 8-5 NEC) took its only lead of the first half on a three-pointer from Alexis Campbell (Ashburn, VA).  The Bobcats engineered an 8-0 run ending at 6:54 on a Kari Goodchild lay-in to make it a 21-13 affair.  Taylor ended the spurt with a bucket but Felicia Barron retaliated for Quinnipiac with a trifecta on the next possession.  Neither side was able to hit a field goal in the final 2:22 of the half as the Pioneers trailed 33-22 at the intermission.

Quinnipiac committed 16 turnovers in the first stanza but doubled up the Pioneers on the glass, hauling in 26 rebounds to only 12 for SHU.  Sacred Heart managed just 23.3 percent (7-30) shooting from the floor in the opening half while QU hit at a 50 percent (12-24) clip.  Barron led all scorers with 11 points at the intermission while Taylor had ten for the Pioneers.

Sacred Heart faced a 12 point deficit with 13:59 to play before making its move to track down the Bobcats.  Norman started things off with the lone Sacred Heart triple of the half to make it 41-32.  Taylor misfired from long range on the next SHU possession but the junior got her own rebound and finished an easy layup.  Four minutes later the Pioneers had the Quinnipiac cushion down to three at 48-45 as Merriman made a strong move to finish a reverse layup.

The Pioneers got a pair of fast break buckets off of QU turnovers and a Kiley Evans (Cazenovia, NY) baseline jumper gave the Pioneers a 49-48 lead with 5:23 to play.  The Bobcats called a timeout and tallied the next five points to regain the edge at 53-49.  Barron made the final play of the mini-run with a steal that lead to an easy fast break lay-in.  Merriman closed the gap to 53-52 with three straight points, including one-of-two at the charity stripe.  The Bobcats maintained a one point advantage as Courtney Kaminski and Maggie Cosgrove (Andover, MA) traded jump shots the next two possessions.  Kaminski finished with a double-double, 14 points and 11 rebounds, for Quinnipiac.

Barron knocked down both ends of a one-and-one with 18.8 seconds remaining to move the score to 59-56, Quinnipiac.  SHU head coach Ed Swanson called timeout in the front court to draw up a play.  The ball went to Taylor for a three-point attempt with two seconds left.  Taylor, who led the NEC in three-point field goal percentage entering the game, missed to the left and the home team pulled in the rebound.  Jacinda Dunbar iced the game with a pair of free throws as the Bobcats came away with a 61-56 triumph.

The Pioneers tied a season low with two three-pointers and finished with a 32.3 percent (20-62) shooting mark from the field.  Sacred Heart is now 13-4 in the last 17 meetings with Quinnipiac.  The two sides will meet again Monday night in the William H. Pitt Center.  Tip-off is set for 5:00 pm and will be aired live on MSG.