Sacred Heart Looks to Even Its History with Manhattan at Wednesday’s Home Opener

Sacred Heart Looks to Even Its History with Manhattan at Wednesday’s Home Opener

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FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Sacred Heart looks for early season redemption as Manhattan comes to town, after falling in its season opener to Monmouth last Friday. Taking Coach Bike Court for the first time this season, the Pioneers can even their budding record and start perfectly on their home floor. Manhattan, who also looks for its first win of the season previously falling to Stony Brook, will look to defeat the Pioneers inside of the William H. Pitt Center for the first time.

Quick hits…

All-Time Series…

The Pioneers have defeated the Jaspers each time the two have clashed in Fairfield including their last outing when Sacred Heart overpowered Manhattan 55-38 back in December 2012. Wednesday's meeting presents an opportunity for the Pioneers to even the all-time series against Manhattan who currently edges SHU, 3-2.

Last Game…

In a tightly contested battle, as both teams opened their seasons, Monmouth would eke out a 69-64 victory over visiting Sacred Heart, Friday evening at The OceanFirst Bank Center.

The game underwent 14 ties and 13 lead changes in the back and forth affair before the hosts opened up their largest lead of the evening, up eight with 33 seconds left to play. A Kayla Shaw three, gave the Hawks a four-point lead, 60-56 with almost 1:30 left to play. From there, empty possessions haunted the Pioneers and Monmouth continued to capitalize. Tykera Carter and Katherine Haines secured three-pointers late in an attempt to keep Sacred Heart in the game but Monmouth continued to punish the visitors at the line hitting seven of their eight tries until time expired.

MAAC-to-MAAC…

Sacred Heart gears up for its second MAAC opponent in two games with one more, Siena, further down its schedule. Like Monmouth, Manhattan was projected to finish seventh in its league standings. 

Leatherwood on the Hardwood…

After redshirting last season as per NCAA transfer rules, Candice Leatherwood laced up for the first time as a Pioneer, competing in her second collegiate season.

The guard's presence was immediately felt assisting on the first make of the game as Carter netted a shot from three-point territory. Doing a bit of everything, Leatherwood crashed the offensive glass, pulled down a defensive rebound and challenged the long-attempt from Monmouth's Carol Arfinengo all before tallying her first bucket as a Pioneer, driving hard to the basket 7:35 into the first quarter.

In 34 minutes of action, Leatherwood finished with a team-high 19 points shooting over 50-percent from the field, five rebounds, three dimes, two steals and a block.

Long-Distance Relationship…

The three-ball troubled the Pioneers as SHU only hit six of the 24 attempted from behind the arc for 25-percent. Sacred Heart allowed eight Hawks' makes from three as Monmouth shot 44.4-percent.

Manhattan started cold from three-point range, shooting a meager 18-percent in the first half of their season opener. The Jaspers would finish 5-for-17 from deep, shooting 29-percent.  Reserve Gabby Cajou went perfect, splashing her two tries, while only missing one field-goal of her seven total looks.

"Free" Throws Might "Cost" Ya…

Against Monmouth, Sacred Heart sank only two free throws out of the 10 awarded for a lowly 20-percent. The Pioneers saw six unlucky attempts in the fourth quarter. Two of the fourth-period trips could have granted them a lead while the final trip, taken with just over a minute to go, could have made the contest a one-possession game.

Career Day…

Jaspers' senior center, Kayla Grimme, headed into the 2017-18 season having pulled down 698 career rebounds. She pulled down her 700th board in the first quarter of play against Stony Brook.  The veteran is also on her way to eclipsing 1,000 points in a Manhattan uniform.

Scouting the Jaspers…

Centers, Mikki Guiton and Grimme look to represent Manhattan's frontcourt joining guards, Lynette Taitt, Amani Tatum and Nyasha Irizarry as the Jaspers' starting five. Guiton (17), Cajou (11) and Tatum (10) netted double-figures in this season's lone contest. Tatum was three helpers shy of a double-double but also registered four thefts.

The team shot a near 40-percent from the field and about 30-percent from far. Manhattan is a 40-percent free throw shooting team.