LORETTO, PA (February 8, 2014)—Gabrielle Washington's (Mesa, Ariz.) team-leading 23 points was not enough as the Sacred Heart women's basketball team fell to Saint Francis University 89-80 in the DeGol Arena Saturday afternoon. The loss drops the Pioneers to 10-12, and 7-4 in conference play, as the Red Flash improves to 10-12, and 8-3 in NEC play.
Washington, just one of five Pioneers in double-digit points, was a perfect 9-for-9 from the charity stripe in the loss. Junior Katie Shepard (Lone Tree, Colo.) tallied 14 points and six assists. Adaysha Williams (LaCrosse, Wis.) and Hannah Kimmel (Harpursville, Pa.) both shot over 40% recording 13 and 12 points respectively. Kimmel flirted with a double-double pulling down seven rebounds. Sophomore Lerae Ettienne (Kensington, Md.) rounded out the group with 10 points knocking down five of her six shots.
The Red Flash opened the game with a six-point run in the first minute and a half. Senior Enjoli Bland (Queen Creek, Ariz.) put the Pioneers on the board, landing two shots from the charity stripe kick-starting a nine-point Pioneer run that would give Sacred Heart its first lead of the game.
With 11:54 remaining in the half, Ettienne laid in back-to-back baskets to give SHU a slight two-point advantage, 18-16. The lead didn't last long as the Red Flash answered with an 11-point run. Washington snapped SFU's run and sent the game back to back-and-forth action allowing Sacred Heart to chip away at the Red Flash's lead.
Washington made a lay-in with the and one basket to bring the Pioneers within three, 42-59, but that was as close as they'd get before the buzzer. The Red Flash held onto the lead, going into halftime up 48-41.
The second half opened just like the first ended, with the Pioneers and Red Flash trading baskets. Sacred Heart chipped away, and back-to-back baskets for Washington brought SHU within three points of catching the Red Flash, 62-59. Moments later, Ettienne landed a jumper in the paint to tie the game at 64 with 10:52 left.
A triple from SFU's Rebecca Keegan tipped the score back in Saint Francis's favor, and sparked a 10-3 run lifting the Red Flash to a 74-67 lead. SFU again increased its lead to 10 points before Shepard landed a pair from the charity stripe igniting an 11-3 SHU run minimizing the gap to just two points, 82-80. That would be it for the Pioneers, as the Red Flash closed the game with nine straight points.
Saint Francis's Alli Williams led very physical game, in which there were 40 personal fouls, with 28 points.
Sacred Heart rounds out the three-game road trip at No. 1 Robert Morris Monday night at 7:00 p.m. live on ESPN3.