Setting the Scene... The Merrit Parkway rival heats up once again as Sacred Heart hosts the undefeated Quinnipiac Bobcats Saturday afternoon in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup. The Pioneers hope to improve their winning streak to 10 games by handing Quinnipiac its first loss in the final regular season game between the two Connecticut schools as Northeast Conference rivals.
Last Time Against the Bobcats... Sacred Heart got 13 points from senior Morgan Merriman and a career-high 12 rebounds from junior Enjoli Bland, but turned it over a season-high 28 times en route to a 74-45 loss at Quinnipiac Saturday afternoon. The Bobcats got a double double from sophomore Brittany McQuain on 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Going for 10... With the 81-56 win over Saint Francis U on Monday night, the Pioneers are on a roll winning their last nine games. Sacred Heart has swept the last four weekends and beaten seven different teams along the way, including two wins over Saint Francis U and Robert Morris.
Sharp Shooting... The Pioneers went 31-for-60 from the hardwood, shooting 51.7% from the field Monday night for the first time in over a year. The last time Sacred Heart shot over 50% was on January 7, 2012 agaisnt LIU Brooklyn when they reached 52.9% making 27 of 51. Six Pioneers shot over 50% in the 81-56 win over Saint Francis U. Katie Shepard (2-2) and Johanna Lopez (1-1) came off the bench to shoot 100%, while Blair Koniszewski (4-8) shot an even 50%. Point guard Ericka Norman (4-6) shot 66.7% on her way to her first double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 assists. Meanwhile, Gabrielle Washington and Kiley Evans had 20-plus point performances shooting 55.6% and 52.6% respectively. Evans led the game with 23 points with Washington right behind her with 22. This was the first time in over a year that two Pioneers have reached 20 points. The last time was on December 11, 2011 when Washington and Callan Taylor lit up the scoreboard with 24 and 21 points respectively as SHU defeated Cal Poly at home.
Deabilitating Defense... Sacred Heart opponents average 21.8 turnovers per game when facing the Pioneers, while SHU only averages 16.0 per game. This 5.8 turnover margin has Sacred Heart ranked 11th in the country among NCAA Division I squads. On two occassions this season, the Pioneers have forced opponents to turnover the ball 29 times, the season high.