Stifling Defense Lifts Pioneers Over Manhattan 55-38

Fairfield, Conn. (December 17, 2012)—A strong Sacred Heart defense shut down Manhattan in the second half, holding them to just 13 points, en route to a 55-38 win Monday night in the William H. Pitt Center. This is the second time this season the SHU women's basketball team held a MAAC opponent to less than 40 points, as the Pioneers clamped down on the Jaspers.  Kiley Evans (Cazenovia, N.Y.) and Gabrielle Washington (Mesa, Ariz.) led the Pioneers, posting 15 points each.

Sacred Heart held Manhattan scoreless for the first three minutes of the game jumping out to a small lead before Karita Brown put the Jaspers on the board with a layup.

Up 3-2, the Pioneers went on a 6-0 run improving their lead, but Manhattan inched their way back and, with 11 minutes left on the clock, Ashley Stec tied the game at 14-14 from the top of the key.

The teams exchanged baskets to tie again at 17, where the score would stand for four minutes before Shayna Ericksen landed a jumper to give Manhattan its first lead of the game. 

The teams exchanged the lead for the remainder of the half, heading into the locker rooms tied at 25-25 at halftime. 

The Pioneers opened the second half 0-for-6, allowing the Jaspers to take a lead, but with 11 minutes left in the game, Blair Koniszewski (Vienna, Va.) landed a jumper, part of the 11-0 Pioneer run and give the team the lead it would never relinquish.

From that point on, Sacred Heart's blistering defense allowed Manhattan only seven more points, while forcing five more turnovers. The Pioneers held Manhattan to a .250 shooting percentage in the game and forced 20 total turnovers.

Washington knocked down two free throws in the second half, improving her streak to 33 consecutive made free throws.

Koniszewski set a new career-high tonight, pulling down seven boards.

The Pioneers travel to Bethlehem, Penn. to take on Lehigh Thursday night at 7:00 p.m.