STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (January 24, 2016)—Kelcey Castro (Fairlawn, N.J.) led the Pioneers' second-half comeback with a career-high 24 points as the Sacred Heart women's basketball team completed the regular-season sweep of Wagner 77-73 Sunday afternoon in the Spiro Center in Staten Island, N.Y.
After trailing the entire first half, with two good free throws Alissa Tarsi (Clinton, N.J.) sparked an 11-2 SHU run that culminated with Lerae Ettienne (Kensington, Md.) doing a spin move in the paint past Wagner's Sofia Roma to find the basket giving the Pioneers their first lead of the game, 46-45, with 3:31 remaining in the third quarter.
Despite the Pioneers expanding their lead at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth quarters, the Seahawks worked their way back, evening the score at 63 with a trey from Jasmine Nwajei with 5:10 left in regulation. But Castro tipped the score back in favor of Sacred Heart draining a triple from the top of the key. Erin Storck (Commack, N.Y.) expanded SHU's lead with a jumper on the next possession. From there, Wagner would only come as close as three points as SHU went on to claim its sixth-straight victory.
The Pioneers return home Tuesday night to host Mount St. Mary's at 7:00 p.m.
- Storck and Castro posted new career scoring bests. The rookie totaled 11, while the senior led the Pioneers with her first ever 20-plus point game
- Nwajei set a new NEC single-game scoring record leading the game with 53 points
- The victory expands the Pioneers' win streak to six straight games
Ettienne gave SHU its first lead of the game in the third quarter, but it was Castro with less than five minutes remaining in the game that led SHU to the win. With the score tied at 63, the senior landed a shot from the top of the key that broke the tie in favor of the Pioneers.
Inside the Box:
- Wagner was able to get the advantage through the first half by outrebounding the Pioneers 21-9
- Roma posted a double-double with 10 points and a game-leading 15 rebounds
- The Pioneers only won the third quarter, but the 22-11 scoring difference was the only difference that matter, helping SHU gain momentum going into a battle of a fourth quarter
- With SHU's starters in foul trouble, the bench came up big ultimately outscoring the Wagner bench 26-6. This is just the fourth time this season the Pioneers' bench has outscored the opponent and the second time it has done so in a SHU win
- The Seahawks put the first five points of the game on the board with a pair of baskets from Nwajei, before Kimmel started back-and-forth action landing a jumper in the paint
- The teams continued to exchange trading points coming out of the 4:56 media timeout. Combining a pair of free throws with a triple, Kimmel minimized Wagner's lead to one point, 11-10, with 3:32 remaining in the period
- Nawajei, who tallied 14 points in the opening stanza, continued to fend off the Pioneers' advances throughout the period, helping Wagner to a 20-17 lead going into the second quarter
- The Seahawks opened the second quarter on a 7-1 run before Storck got the and-one basket cutting Wagner's lead to six points, 27-21, 4:35 into the period
- With just under two minutes left in the half, Storck and Adaysha Williams (LaCrosse, Wis.) combined for four points bringing the Seahawks' lead to five points, 37-32, but with 25 seconds on the clock Nwajei pushed the lead to 38-32, which is where it stayed until halftime
- Castro started second-half scoring going two-for-two from the charity stripe, but Wagner's Sofia Roma and Nwajei answered with four points maintaining Wagner's lead
- Next it was Alissa Tarsi's (Clinton, N.J.) turn to get something going for the Pioneers. The senior also knocked down both her shots sparking a 9-2 SHU streak, which culminated with the Pioneers' shrinking the Seahawks' lead to just one point, 44-43, just over midway through the period on Castro's trey
- With 3:31 remaining in the quarter, Lerae Ettienne (Kensington, Md.) did a spin move in the paint around Roma for a layup giving the Pioneers' their first lead of the game, 46-45. Castro and Kimmel expanded SHU's lead each landing free throws
- Sacred Heart outscored Wagner 22-11 in the quarter to head into the final stanza with a 54-49 lead
- SHU continued expanding its lead in the beginning of the fourth quarter, scoring the first four points of the period to make it 58-49 and force Wagner to call a timeout less than two minutes in
- With 5:50 left in regulation, and SHU up 61-55, Nwajei ignited an 8-2 spree that evened the score at 63 with 5:10 remaining
- Castro broke the score in favor of the Pioneers draining a shot from the top of the key. Storck followed the senior with a jumper making it a five-point game, 68-63
- From there, the Seahawks would only get as close as three points to catching Sacred Heart