Pioneers Erase 14 Point Halftime Deficit But Fall To Manhattan, 52-48, In First Round Of WBI

Riverdale, NY – Maggie Cosgrove (Andover, MA) banked home a three with 3:15 remaining to knot the game at 48-48 but the SHU women's basketball team dropped a 52-48 decision to Manhattan in the first round of the 2011 Women's Basketball Invitational Thursday night.  The Jaspers never trailed in the game and built a 34-20 lead at halftime with six treys in the opening period.  Callan Taylor (Overland Park, KS) was the lone Pioneer in double digits, scoring 18 points to go along with eight rebounds.

Manhattan (23-9) used the long ball early as Monica Roeder knocked down a pair of three-pointers in the first two Jasper possessions to put the home side up 6-0.  Alexis Campbell (Ashburn, VA) got the Pioneers first basket of the game by getting behind the defense in transition for an easy lay-in.  But Roeder struck with another triple in Manhattan's return trip up the court.  Kiley Evans (Cazenovia, NY) answered for SHU with a trifecta of her own to cut the deficit to 9-5.  The Jaspers would regain the momentum with seven straight points, capped by an Allison Skrec shot from beyond the arc to take a 16-5 lead and force a Pioneer timeout at the 13:12 mark.

Sacred Heart (18-13) stopped the run immediately after the stoppage Taylor nailed a step-back jumper with the shot clock winding down.  One minute later it was Taylor, a first team All-Northeast Conference selection, who hauled-in a defensive rebound and provided a long outlet pass to Evans for an easy layup.  Taylor then got fire and notched Sacred Heart's next 11 points, including a trio of three-point buckets, as SHU closed to within five at 25-20, with 3:25 left in the first half.

The Jaspers regained control and used a 6-0 spurt over the next 1:35 of action to extend the lead back to double digits at 31-20.  Abby Wentworth, who was named to the All-MAAC first team, made it nine straight points for Manhattan on a trey with 26 seconds on the clock.  The Pioneers forced a turnover in the final seconds of the half but Campbell, who came up with the loose ball, missed a running three at the buzzer as Sacred Heart went into the locker room trailing, 34-20, after one period.

Taylor led the Pioneers with 13 points at the intermission while Roeder paced all scorers with 14.  Manhattan's Lindse Loutsenhizer notched seven rebounds in the opening stanza while the Jaspers held an 18-13 edge on the glass after twenty minutes.  The home side shot at a 48.3 percent (14-29) pace in the first half, including a blistering 75 percent (6-8) from beyond the arc.

The Pioneers wasted no time erasing the Jasper cushion in the second half, scoring the first 10 points of the period.  Maggie Cosgrove (Andover, MA) buried a three, the 253rd of her career, in the opening possession.  Sophomore Morgan Merriman (Seattle, WA) tallied the final five points of the run and converted on a conventional three-point play to make it a 34-30 affair.  Campbell hit a triple from the left corner at the 14:00 mark to bring the Pioneers within one at 36-35. 

Manhattan got its first bucket of the half with 12:25 on the clock as Nadia Peters converted on a layup.  Peters had the next two points for the Jaspers as the forward banked in a straight away jumper from 12 feet out.  Three minutes later Peters finished what would be a 7-2 Manhattan spurt with a three-point play to push the score to 46-37.  Taylor ended a SHU six minute drought without a field goal on a tough inside layup.  On the next possession Taylor completed a three-point play of her own to make it 46-42 with 7:20 to play.

Sacred Heart completed the comeback as the only SHU senior on the court, Cosgrove, knocked down two straight triples from the corner to even the game at 48-48 with 3:15 remaining in regulation.  Manhattan ended a five minute stretch without a point as Wentworth hit a pair of free throws to put the Jaspers up two, 50-48, with 1:52 left.

The Pioneers missed on a trey and the Jaspers came up with the defensive rebound and had a 12 second differential between the shot and game clocks.  Sacred Heart locked down for a stop on defense but the rebound after a contested shot ended in a jump ball and the possession arrow favored the Jaspers.  SHU was forced to foul with 8.6 seconds left and Loutsenhizer hit two shots at the charity stripe to increase the lead to four, 52-48.  The Pioneers were unable to get up the court and get off a shot in the remaining time as Manhattan came away with the 52-48 win.

The Jaspers shot just 20 percent (5-25) from the floor in the second half but were able to hold off SHU with a perfect 7-for-7 performance at the free throw line.  Manhattan managed posted a 35.2 percent (19-54) mark from the field overall compared to a 37.8 percent (17-5) clip for the Pioneers.  Taylor's 18 points led all players while Loutsenhizer pulled down 14 rebounds for Manhattan.

The Pioneers complete the 2010-11 campaign with 18 wins and finished third in the NEC, maintaining the program's streak of never finishing below that threshold since joining the league in 1999.  Sacred Heart graduates four players this year in Cosgrove, Alisa Apo (Freehold, NJ), Maureen Reilly (Cherry Hill, NJ) and Markie Schmidt (Elkhorn, WI).