Second Half Surge Puts SHU Women's Basketball on Top of Siena 62-45 in Season Opener

Loudonville, N.Y.—Callan Taylor (Overland Park, Kan.) recorded the seasons first double-double with 13 rebounds and 13 points as the Pioneers Women's Basketball Team defeated the Siena Saints to claim victory in the 2011-12 season opener Friday night. Sacred Heart topped Sienna 62-45 picking up their first W in Siena. Freshman Gabrielle Washington (Mesa, Ariz) came up big in her Pioneer debut leading the team with 14 points.

Sacred Heart came out strong in the first half taking an 11-4 lead within four minutes of the game. Siena struck first with a bucket by Maja Gerlyng, but Taylor would answer quickly with two points of her own kicking off Pioneer scoring. Gabrielle Washington (Chino Hills, Cal.) and Norman were quick to follow knocking down a two and a three point shot respectively.  With 10:57 left in the first half, the Pioneer would hold a 15-point lead over the Saints, who would quickly close the gap before the halftime buzzer.

With 11:46 left in the half, Siena's Kate Zarotney stepped up to the free throw line making two shots that would kick off a Saint comeback. Suddenly, the game took a turn in the Saints' favor. In the last eight minutes of the half, the Saints would put 23 thanks to three 3-pointers and a two-point basket from senior Maja Gerlyng and five points from sophomore Clara Sole Anglada, putting the Saints up 32-31 going into halftime.

The Sacred Heart offense was back to play too and quickly tied up the game at 34 one minute into the second half on a good free throw by Taylor. A three-pointer by Washington would give the Pioneers a lead they would never relinquish. Kiley Evans (Cazenovia, N.Y.) turned on the heat in the second half, tallying six points, four from the free throw line. Norman also found herself at the line a lot in the second half, she made five of her eight opportunities. 

The Pioneers came back in the second half playing hard on defense too, forcing 12 turnovers, and converting five to baskets for ten points.

"We played with a lot of energy," said Head Coach Ed Swanson. "Holding Siena to 13 points in the second half on their home court was a big step for our defense."

Gerlyng and junior Lily Grenci led the Saints scoring, combining for 24 of Siena's 45 points.

Don't miss the Pioneers on Sunday as they host Columbia University in the 2011-12 home opener at the William H. Pitt Center at 4 p.m.