Fairfield, Conn.— Four Pioneers reached double-digit scoring in the semifinal round of the 2012 Northeast Conference Championship Tournament as top-seed Sacred Heart advanced with a 61-56 win over #4 seeded Robert Morris. The Pioneers posted a 61-56 win to move into the NEC Championship game on Sunday against the #3 seeded Monmouth Hawks, live on ESPNU.
The Pioneers struck first on the first possession of the game. Getting the ball off the tip, Ericka Norman (Chino Hills, Calif.) pitched the ball to Gabrielle Washington (Mesa, Ariz.) who drove the lane for the first basket of the game.
After Mary Durojaye's layup scoring the first points for the Colonials, Norman hit back-to-back jumpers making the Sacred Heart lead 7-2. But two triples from Josette Campbell brought Robert Morris back within one.
The Colonials got their first lead of the night when Briannica Tye had back-to-back layups to put them up 13-9.
Washington brought the Pioneers back, tying the game at 13 after grabbing her own rebound and laying it in. Callan Taylor (Overland Park, Kan.), hitting her first shot nearly 10 minutes into the game, broke the tie landing a three from the top of the key.
Robert Morris was scoreless for nearly six minutes, allowing the Pioneers to capitalize and score nine points and regain the lead. Free throws from Durojaye narrowed the gap to just one point, but then Washington took her turn at the charity stripe adding two to the Pioneer lead sending them into halftime with a 25-20 lead. They would not relinquish the lead for the rest of the game.
Artemis Spanou nabbed her first points of the game, opening the second half on a fast break layup. The All-NEC player recorded the first four points of the half for the Colonials.
The Pioneers managed eight points before Robert Morris went on an eight-point run chipping away and shrinking SHU's lead to 33-32, but that was as close as they would get for the rest of the game.
Colonial guard Campbell led the game, putting 20 points on the board.
Robert Morris managed to contain Taylor to 12 points in the game, but could not stop senior Alexis Campbell (Ashburn, Va.) who scored 11 points in the second half alone and totaled 13 points, tying her career high. Washington led the team with 18 points, while Norman nearly had a double-double with 11 points and nine assists.
The Pioneers will host Monmouth on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. in the NEC Championship Game.