February 25, 2012

Sacred Heart Pushes Past Red Flash 66-61 to Sit Atop NEC

Fairfield, Conn.—Callan Taylor (Overland Park, Kan.) and Gabrielle Washington (Mesa, Ariz.) lead the Sacred Heart women's basketball team to a 66-61 win over the Saint Francis (PA) Red Flash on "Senior Day." The duo combined for 38 points in the win that, along with Quinnipiac's loss, gave the Pioneers sole possession of first place in the Northeast Conference with one game left to play.

Callan Taylor (Overland Park, Kan.) wasted no time putting points on the board, hitting a jumper just 11 seconds into the game to start a 10-2 run capped off by a trey from rookie Gabrielle Washington (Mesa, Ariz.). 

Saint Francis (PA) minimized Pioneer scoring and with 8:40 left in the half, Rhonda Watts landed a jump shot to put the Red Flash up 18-17. Three minutes later, on a Washington layup, Sacred Heart knotted the game at 21, but Saint Francis (PA) regained the lead with two minutes left.

Just before the one-minute mark, Taylor knocked down a three is boost the Pioneers to a 28-26 lead. Washington, en route to her fifth 20-plus point performance, added two more to Sacred Heart's total from the charity stripe to send the Pioneers into the locker room with a 30-26 lead.

Sacred Heart came out strong in the second half, putting up six points before the Red Flash had a chance to score.  Despite Saint Francis (PA) closing the gap, coming as close as two points, the Pioneers never relinquished the lead.

With just 55 second left in the game, Sacred Heart led by 11, their largest lead of the day, but a late 7-2 Red Flash run made the score 66-61 at the buzzer.

Taylor totaled 14 points and collected 13 rebounds for her fourteenth double-double of the season. This was the fifty-third of her career, a number that leads all active NCAA Division I players.

Washington tallied 25 points in the win, shooting 45% from the field and a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line.

The Pioneers take the court on Monday for the last game of the regular season when they host the Robert Morris Colonials at 7 p.m.  A win will clinch at least a share of the program's fourth NEC Regular Season Championship.