FAIRFIELD, CONN. (September 24, 2015)—The Sacred Heart Department of Athletics announced the 2015-16 women's basketball schedule Thursday morning. The basketball season officially kicks off Tuesday, Oct. 27 when the Northeast Conference hosts the fourth annual NEC Basketball Social Media Day at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The Pioneers open the season at home against Hartford on Sunday, Nov. 15. SHU lost to the Hawks by single digits each of the last two years. Sacred Heart continues play at home hosting New Hampshire on Nov. 18 before renewing the cross-town rivalry with Fairfield University in a men's/women's double-header on Nov. 21 at the Webster Bank Arena.
SHU is set to get out of the cold and spend Thanksgiving in sunny Puerto Rico to play Coastal Carolina and Louisiana-Lafayette as part of the San Juan Shootout at the Mario Morales Coliseum in Guaynabo. This is the program's first time playing the Chanticleers, but marks the second time playing the Ragin' Cajans. In 2003-04, the Pioneers topped Louisiana 75-60 in the Maryland Terrapin Classic.
Sacred Heart starts off December with two straight road games against St. John's, who defeated SHU in the 2013-14 season-opening overtime battle, on Dec. 3 and Vermont on Dec. 6 before returning home to face Binghamton on Dec. 12 in the only non-conference men's/women's doubleheader in the William H. Pitt Center.
The Pioneers wrap up the non-conference slate at home against Buffalo on Dec. 29 after making the long trip to Penn State before the holidays, taking on the Nittany Lions on Dec. 20.
The women's basketball team begins Northeast Conference play with a pair of men's/women's doubleheaders at Robert Morris on Jan. 2 and Saint Francis U on Jan. 4. All NEC women's basketball teams continue the tradition of playing a Saturday-Monday conference schedule. SHU returns home the following Saturday to face the Knights of Fairleigh Dickinson before hosting Wagner on Monday, Jan. 11.
Beginning Jan. 16, the Pioneers embark on a three-game road trip where they'll travel to St. Francis Brooklyn, Central Conn. State on Jan. 18 and Wagner Jan. 23. After two games at home against Mount St. Mary's on Jan. 25 and Bryant on Jan. 30, SHU begins February on the road against LIU Brooklyn on the first.
Sacred Heart spends the first two weekends of February at home as the defending NEC Champion Terriers come to town on Feb. 6 followed by the Blackbirds on Feb. 8, CCSU on Feb. 13 and the RMU Colonials on Feb. 15.
The Pioneers play three of their last four regular-season games on the road heading to FDU on Feb. 20 and Bryant on Feb. 22 before battling the Red Flash in the Pitt on Senior Day Feb. 27. On Monday, Feb. 29, SHU travels to Emmitsburg, Md. to close out the regular season against the Mount.
Sacred Heart finished fourth in the NEC in 2014-15 with an 11-7 record against conference foes, and 16-13 overall. The Pioneers lost three-time All-NEC player Gabrielle Washington and Katie Shepard to graduation in 2015, but return three key starters: two-time All-NEC player Hannah Kimmel (Harpursville, N.Y.), 2014 NEC All-Rookie selection Adaysha Williams (LaCrosse, Wis.) and senior forward Lerae Ettienne (Kensington, Md.). Fans will see three fresh faces on the court in Cleo Palyzou (Athens, Greece), Erin Stork (Commack, N.Y.), Danielle Durjan (Montgomery Village, Md.) and Briana Hardee (Waldorf, Md.).