LORETTO, PA (January 4, 2016)—Led by Hannah Kimmel's (Harpursville, N.Y.) 25 points and Alissa Tarsi's (Clinton, N.J.) double-double, the Sacred Heart women's basketball team clinched its first Northeast Conference victory of the season 81-77 over Saint Francis U in the DeGol Arena Monday night. The win, which marks an end to the Pioneers' three-game slide, improves SHU to 3-10 on the season and 1-1 against league foes, while the Red Flash drops to 3-10 and 1-1.
In a game that saw the lead change 16 times, it all came down to the final four minutes. With 4:04 remaining in the game, Aisha Brock gave SFU its final lead, 73-71, landing her sixth three-pointer of the night. Tarsi personally answered the call lifting Sacred Heart to a 76-73 lead with four straight points. Adaysha Williams (LaCrosse, Wis.) added two more to the streak before the Red Flash managed one of its final four points, a free throw from Brielle Ward.
The Pioneer offense continued on the road to victory as Williams and Kelcey Castro (Fairlawn, N.J.) combined for three points before the final buzzer.
The Pioneers return home Saturday to face Fairleigh Dickinson in a doubleheader with the SHU men's team beginning at 1:00 p.m.
- Kelcey Castro (Fairlawn, N.J.) tallied a career-high 18 points
- Tarsi recorded her third double-double of the season grabbing a career-best 14 rebounds and totaling 14 points, while Shelby Hickey (Littleton, Colo.) pulled down a season-best 10 boards
- The win snaps a three-game slide and is SHU's first conference win of the season
Inside the Box:
- Hannah Kimmel (Harpursville, N.Y.) led the game with 25 points shooting .476 from the floor and .571 from beyond the arc
- Lerae Ettienne (Kensington, Md.) was a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor for 10 points, one of three Pioneers to tally double-digit points
- After scoring just 12 points in the first quarter, SHU totaled 23 points in the three latter periods, outside Saint Francis in the third (23-14) and fourth (23-21) quarters
With Sacred Heart down 73-71 and four minutes left in the game, Tarsi went on a one-woman four-point streak lifting SHU its final lead of the game with a pair from the charity stripe and a second-chance layup at the 1:12 mark.
- The Pioneers got on the board first after nearly two minutes of no scoring with an Tarsi layup, but the Red Flash answered with two points of their own setting the teams on a path to exchange points through the next few minutes
- With the score even at seven, SFU's Katie Reese and Jessica Kovatch combined for four straight points. The short lead was expanding in the final minutes of the quarter as the Red Flash ended the period on a 7-2 run for an 18-12 lead at the buzzer
- After Brock landed a three to open the second quarter, Kimmel drained one of her own from the left wing igniting a nine-point SHU run which evened the score at 21 with Ettienne's second-chance lay-up
- A lay-in from Courtney Zezza tipped the scales in SFU's favor before a triple from Kelcey Castro (Fairlawn, N.J.) put SHU back on top 24-23 with 6:15 left in the period
- Ten seconds later, with Sacred Heart still up 26-25, Reese hit a three sparking a quick 5-1 run for he Red Flash giving it a 30-27 advantage, but a Tarsi second-chance basket combined with Erin Storck's (Commack, N.Y.) shot-clock-beating jumper, the Pioneers were again in the lead by just one point, 31-30
- Saint Francis owned the next 1:15 breaking the tie with eight straight points. Tarsi knocked down a jumper in the paint in an attempt to stop the streak, but Maya Wynn put up three more for the Red Flash on the next possession
- Down by nine, 42-33, Sacred Heart got two more points from Adaysha Williams (LaCrosse, Wis.) at the foul line to go into halftime down six
- SFU started the second half with two straight baskets improving their lead to 11 points before the eight-minute mark
- After being held scoreless for over the first two minutes of the quarter, Kimmel drained a trey kick-starting a 12-9 streak that minimized the margin to just two points, 49-47, before the 4:34 media timeout. The RS-junior nailed three triples during the streak, while Williams landed the fourth
- Sacred Heart came out of the break to take their first lead. Kimmel evened the score at 49 before Hickey gave the Pioneers the advantage going 2-for-2 from the free throw line. Tarsi and Castro combined for four more before the Red Flash managed their first field goal in over four minutes. Wynn's bucket didn't slow the SHU offense as Castro added three more points to the Pioneers' side of the scoreboard from the top of the key to extend Sacred Heart's lead to 58-51 with 2:28 remaining in the quarter
- Aisha Brock and Kovatch tacked on five points before the buzzer, while the Red Flash held SHU scoreless in the final 2:27 of the quarter, minimizing the Pioneers' lead to two points, 58-56, heading into the final stanza
- The teams traded points during the first couple minutes of the period. With 7:22 left in regulation, Kovatch put the Red Flash back on top, 63-62, with a jumper
- In a quarter that saw a lot of back-and-forth action, the lead changed hands four times over the next two minutes with Kimmel reclaiming it for the Pioneers, 71-70, at the 4:40 mark
- Brock's sixth three of the night gave Saint Francis a 73-71 lead before the four-minute mark, but after a two-minute scoring drought, Tarsi tallied five straight points for a 76-73 advantage heading into the final minute
- SHU allowed SFU four points through the end of the game, but tallied three more itself clinching the victory