Brooklyn Bound; Pioneers Face St. Francis Brooklyn Saturday
Setting the Scene... The Pioneers are looking for revenge after the Terriers handed them their first conference loss on opening day of NEC play back in January. That game started Sacred Heart's worst NEC start in program history, 1-3. Despite the tumultuous start, SHU clinched the No. 2 seed in the NEC Tournament with the win over Bryant Wednesday evening.
Last Time Against the Terriers... The Sacred Heart Women's Basketball team fell to St. Francis Brooklyn 56-47 in the 2013 Northeast Conference opener in the William H. Pitt Center in the first game of the men's/women's doubleheader. The loss snapped Sacred Heart's 15-game home win streak dating back to January 3, 2012. Gabrielle Washington led the Pioneers with 13 points, while senior Morgan Merriman flirted with her second career double-double with nine rebounds and eight points.
Brilliant First Half... The Pioneers shined in the first half against the Bulldogs Wednesday evening on both ends of the court. Sacred Heart forced Bryant into 19 turnovers in the first half alone, and shot 48.4% from the floor. Morgan Merriman, who led the game, posted 12 of her 18 points in the first half, shooting 50% (5-10), and Gabrielle Washington recorded half of her 14 points.
13 Years Running... Wednesday evening, with the 58-50 win over Bryant, the Sacred Heart Women's Basketball Team clicnched the No. 2 seed in the 2013 Northeast Conference Tournament. This is the 13th-straight year that the Pioneers have cemented a spot in the Top 3. Since joining the NEC in 1999-00, SHU has never finished lower than tied for third. Sacred Heart has finished with sole possession of first place on three occasions. All three of those times, the Pioneers took home the championship.
The Road to the Championship... Six teams have already sealed their spot in the 2013 NEC Tournament. Quinnipiac (No. 1), Sacred Heart (No. 2), Saint Francis U, Monmouth, Mount St. Mary's and St. Francis Brooklyn have already clinched tournament berths, while the fates of Central Connecticut State (8-8), Fairleigh Dickinson (6-10), Bryant (6-10)and Robert Morris (6-10)are still uncertain. All four are vying for the two remaining spots, with Central Conn. State most likely to nab one.
Up Next... The Pioneers close out the regular season Monday night against LIU Brooklyn on the road. Having clinched the 2 seed in the Northeast Conference Tournament with the win over Bryant Wednesday night, Sacred Heart will host the quarterfinals on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.