The Storyline... The Pioneer women's basketball team welcomes the Monmouth Hawks to the William H. Pitt Center Saturday afternoon on senior day for a contest with a myriad of playoff implications. Both teams have already secured a spot in the NEC tournament but the seeding scenarios are far from being determined. Entering the final weekend of the season, the Pioneers and Hawks have everything to play for as both sides could finish as either regular season champions or as low as the six seed. Monmouth defeated Sacred Heart in a 55-37 decision earlier this season in West Long Branch, NJ. However, the Pioneers are a different team as of late and have won three straight games. The Hawks are winners of their previous four, including two big victories at home last weekend over Saint Francis (PA) and Robert Morris. SHU has never finished lower than third since joining the Northeast Conference at the start of the 1999-2000 campaign.
Series... The Pioneers own a 16-9 edge in the all-time series against Monmouth. Sacred Heart has won eight of the last 11 meetings with the Hawks but have now dropped two straight tilts. SHU has fared better on their home court versus its Garden State rival, compiling a 9-2 record against Monmouth in the friendly confines of the Pitt Center. The last four Pioneer victories over the Hawks have come by a double-digit margin.
Scouting the Hawks... Monmouth has been a model of consistency all year, losing back-to-back contests just once and sending out the same starting five for every game this season. The Hawks also boast the league's best defense and allow just 54.9 points per game. Monmouth has taken great care of the ball in 2010-11 and ranks first in the NEC in turnover margin at +2.74. Alysha Womack leads the MU offense averaging 12.9 points per game while Erin Rooney adds 10.8 per contest. Abby Martin is the squad's top rebounder at 6.7 boards per game to go along with her 8.4 points. The Hawks are a .500 team at 6-6 on the road this season while compiling a 13-2 record on their home floor.
Saying Goodbye to a Spectacular Senior Class... Before Saturday's game against Monmouth the Pioneers will honor this year's four graduating seniors: Alisa Apo, Maggie Cosgrove, Maureen Reilly, and Markie Schmidt. Together this group has compiled an 80-40 overall record in their time at Sacred Heart. In the 2008-09 season this group was part of Sacred Heart's historical perfect run through the Northeast Conference that concluded with the program's second championship and trip to the NCAA tournament. The class of 2011 has posted a 55-15 mark against league opposition and won 46 games at home inside the Pitt Center.
Norman Named NEC Rookie of the Week... SHU freshman Ericka Norman averaged 16 points and four assists in a pair of victories en route to being named the Choice Hotels/NEC rookie of the week. The 5-7 point guard poured in a career high 19 points in Sacred Heart's 74-54 win over Bryant Saturday evening. Norman followed that performance with a 13 point, four assist performance two days later in a critical conference win over Central Connecticut State.
Counting on Callan... Junior Callan Taylor is fourth in the NEC in scoring with 14.8 points per game and second in rebounding at 9.0 boards per contest. She has been even better in league games averaging a double-double with 14.6 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. Taylor recorded her league leading tenth double-double of the year against Central Connecticut State registering 22 points and 11 rebounds. The six-foot forward has secured at least 10 boards in four consecutive games. Earlier this season against Monmouth Taylor was held scoreless for the first time in her career as a starter.
Let's Play to 70... Sacred Heart is 7-0 this season when reaching the 70 point plateau. The Pioneers last scored 70+ in each of the last two games, both convincing Pioneer victories. SHU also holds a 0-3 record in 2010-11 when opponents notch at least 70 points. Sacred Heart is 8-2 when tallying 60-69 points and is 2-8 without reaching the 60 point mark.
Keeping Them Down... Sacred Heart is 13-0 this season when they lead heading into the intermission. The Pioneers are a perfect 15-0 in 2010-11 when having an advantage with ten minutes remaining in regulation. SHU holds a 17-1 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.
Cosgrove Eclipses 1,000 Point Barrier... Senior Maggie Cosgrove drilled a trey at the 12:25 mark of the second half against Bryant to become the 16th player in program history to reach 1,000 career points. Cosgrove has tallied 744 of her now 1,017 career points with a school record 248 three-point baskets. During her career the guard has averaged 8.4 points per game and shot 42 percent from beyond the arc.
Taking Charity... The Pioneers rank first in the NEC at the free throw line, knocking down 71.3 percent of their attempts this season. Callan Taylor leads the NEC individually at the line shooting 89.6 percent (69-77) at the charity stripe. Cosgrove sank 8-of-10 attempts at the line last time out versus CCSU. The Pioneers are 9-1 in 2010-11 when shooting at least 75 percent at the charity stripe.