Lynchburg, Va.—Gabrielle Washington (Mesa, Ariz.) led the Pioneers with 22 points as the Sacred Heart Women's Basketball Team fell to Liberty 68-63 Saturday night. The Pioneers were hurt at the foul line as the Flames scored 15 points on free throws alone in the second half. With the loss, SHU drops to 1-2 on the season.
In a game of strong defenses, Liberty held Sacred Heart to just two points, on Washington's free throws, while they ran out to an 8-2 lead. With 8:55 on the clock, Washington landed a jumper from the right wing to give the Pioneers their first lead 16-15. The lead changed five more times before the buzzer, but Morgan Merriman (Seattle, Wa.), with 10 seconds left, hit a jumper from inside the paint to give SHU the slight advantage 27-25 heading into halftime.
Despite the Pioneers striking first in the second half, the Flames wasted no time stealing the lead back within four minutes of the period starting. With Sacred Heart up 40-39 thanks to a pair of foul shots by Alissa Tarsi (Clinton, N.J.), Liberty's Jasmine Gardner made a layup kicking off Liberty's 10-2 run, making it difficult for the Pioneers to catch up.
The Flames' lead eventually grew to 15 with just 2:56 remaining in the game, but Sacred Heart never stopped battling. Washington knocked down a pair of foul shots to start the Pioneers on a 9-2 run to bring them within nine points with just a minute left to play.
Sacred Heart scored seven points in the last minute of the game, including Lerae Ettienne's (Kensington, Md.) first collegiate points, but it wasn't enough to overcome gap.
For the second game in a row, Ericka Norman (Chino Hills, Calif.) recorded 13 assists, a career-high for the junior point guard.
The Pioneers head back to Fairfield for the home opener Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. against the Saint Peter's Peahens.