March 2, 2013

Pioneers Take Home a Nail-Biter 57-53 Over St. Francis Brooklyn

Brooklyn, N.Y. (March 2, 2013)—The Sacred Heart Women's team took home a 57-53 win over St. Francis Brooklyn Saturday afternoon in the Pope Physical Education Center in a preview of the Northeast Conference Tournament quarterfinals.  The Pioneers were fueled by a 25-8 run in the first half while sophomore Gabrielle Washington (Mesa, Ariz.) led the way with 20 points, her eleventh 20-plus performance of the season. The Pioneers are now 21-8 on the season and 13-4 in conference.

After the teams exchanged possessions and turnovers, SFBK's Stefanie Bingham landed a jumper for the first points of the game. The Pioneers answered with a 10-3 run kick-started by a pair of free throws from Washington. The sophomore posted eight of Sacred Heart's first 12 points. 

Breaking out of the first media timeout, SHU held the Terriers nearly nine minutes without a field goal, while they went on another big run. The Pioneers took a dominating 29-12 lead on a 19-5 run before the 2:18 media timeout.

Sacred Heart continued their great play, hitting four more baskets before the halftime buzzer for a 38-19 lead heading into the break.

The first and second halves were night and day, as the Terriers out scored Sacred Heart 34-19 in the latter half of the game.

After a nearly three-minute scoring drought to open the second half, the Pioneers went on a 6-2 run before Eilidh Simpson, who accounted for 10 of the Terriers first 13, hit a shot from downtown. The teams exchanged points with SHU maintaining their nearly 20-point lead for the majority of the second half.

Blair Koniszewski (Vienna, Va.) drained a triple with 10:29 left in the game to put Sacred Heart up 53-32 before a nearly eight minutes, while SFBK went on a 17-0 tear to cut the Pioneers' lead to just four, 53-49. Washington snapped the SFBK's comeback with a jumper just inside the arc, but the Terriers responded with a layup to remain four points back.

With 16.6 seconds on the clock, Sarah Benedetti knocked down a pair of free throws minimizing the gap to just two points, 55-53. Katie Fox immediately got called for a foul on Ericka Norman (Chino Hills, Calif.) in an attempt to stop the clock. Sacred Heart being in the bonus, Norman made it a four-point game again where it stayed until the final buzzer.

The Pioneers close the regular season Monday night against LIU Brooklyn.