FAIRFIELD, CONN. (February 9, 2016)—The Sacred Heart women's basketball team uses its eleventh straight win to advance to the Northeast Conference Championship game. Behind Alissa Tarsi (Clinton, N.J.) and Hannah Kimmel's (Harpursville, N.Y.) double-doubles, the top-seeded Pioneers downed the number four seed Saint Francis U 92-71 in the NEC semifinal at home in the William H. Pitt Center.
The victory continues SHU's unbeaten streak when the No. 1 seed in the NEC Tournament (10-0), while moving its overall record to 20-11 for the program's eighth 20-win season.
Sacred Heart jumped out to a big lead in the first quarter setting the pace of the game. Tallying their most points in a quarter, the Pioneers led SFU 30-12 going into the second period thanks in large part to Shelby Hickey's (Littleton, Colo.) 11 points. The Red Flash minimized SHU's lead to six points by the halftime buzzer, but the Pioneers fired back in the third and fourth quarters scoring 22 and 24 points respectively to pick up the big win.
With No. 3 Robert Morris upsetting No. 2 Bryant tonight, the Pioneers will host the Colonials in the championship game this Sunday at 3:00 p.m.
- With 30 points in the first quarter, the Pioneers set a new program record for points in a quarter, while their total of 92 points is a season high
- Tarsi, the NEC Most Improved Player, lit up the scoreboard with a career-high 25 points as she recorded her ninth double-double of the season grabbing 10 boards
- In the first quarter alone, Hickey hit a season-best four three-pointers tying her career high. The junior went on to top herself, knocking down five and lighting up the scoreboard with a career-high 17 points
- Hickey's classmate Adaysha Williams (LaCrosse, Wis.) dished out a career-best nine assists missing a double-double by three points
- Tykera Carter (Alexandria, Va.) tied her season-high of 11 points in the first half
- The Pioneers got off to a good start as Hickey notched the first points on a layup, before Kimmel picked off a Red Flash pass and banked it in on the fast break putting SHU up 4-0
- SFU got three from Halee Adams' downtown shot, but Hickey answered with her own from the top of the key, sparking a nine-point Pioneer run that forced Saint Francis U Head Coach Joe Haig to call a time out just before the seven-minute mark
- Sacred Heart extended its lead to 14 points, 19-5, on a Kimmel triple before Adams sparked a brief six-point run for the Red Flash to cut into SHU's lead
- Once again, though, it was Hickey who snapped SFU's offensive spurt, combining with Carter for six-straight, as SHU went on to make it a 13-1 run to end the quarter
- The Pioneers went into the second with a 30-12 lead, setting a program record for most points in a quarter
- The teams exchanged baskets throughout the first five minutes of the quarter without either team being able to string anything together until Adams and Maya Wynn landed consecutive field goals for five points with 4:32 on the clock
- The media timeout didn't slow down the Red Flash who added five more to their total making it a 10-point run, before Lerae Ettienne (Kensington, Md.) got the second-chance basket in an attempt to extinguish Saint Francis U's hot streak
- The four points SHU got were quickly answered by SFU who ended the half with eight unanswered points cutting Sacred Heart's once 20-point lead down to six points, 46-40
- Saint Francis U outscored Sacred Heart 28-12 in the second quarter to tie the most points allowed by the Pioneers this season in a period
- The Pioneers wasted no time expanding their lead as Williams and Alissa Tarsi (Clinton, N.J.) combined for the first five points of the half
- SFU used an 8-2 run to come within five points of catch Sacred Heart, 53-48, on Courtney Zezza's jumper, but a pair of made free throws from Tarsi and Hickey's career-high fifth triple of the night pushed it back to a 10-point game before the 4:19 media timeout
- SHU continued to build its lead over a four-minute span as the Pioneers put 13 points on the board while only allowing the Red Flash one
- While it looked like SFU was stringing together something as the final minute ticked away, Tarsi landed both of her free throws to send Sacred Heart into the final stanza with a 68-53 lead
- SHU took the first nine of the first 11 points in the quarter taking its largest of the game thus far, 77-55, with 6:46 left in regulation
- In a quarter that saw the Pioneers outscore SFU 24-18, Kimmel recorded her eleventh double-double of the season, and Tarsi her ninth