Feb. 6, 2010
HAMDEN, Conn. (February 6, 2010) - The Sacred Heart Pioneers wrapped up the inaugural Northeast Conference Rivalry Week completing the season-sweep with a 66-41 win over the Quinnipiac Bobcats Saturday afternoon at TD Bank Sports Center. Junior Alisa Apo (Freehold, NJ) scored 19 points while sophomore Callan Taylor (Overland Park, KS) had 15 points and 12 rebound for her 13th double double as Sacred Heart improved to 18-5 overall and 11-1 in the NEC.
Freshman Kiley Evans (Cazenovia, NY) was also in the mix with 15 points, four rebounds, three steals and a block in the win. The Pioneers pick up their 18th win in 2009-10, extending their streak to nine-straight seasons with at least 18 wins, the longest active streak in the Northeast Conference. Under head coach Ed Swanson, the Pioneers have won 18 or more games 11 times in his 20 seasons on the bench.
The Pioneers (18-5, 11-1 NEC) and Bobcats (9-14, 4-8 NEC) squared off for the second time in 48 hours as part of the conference's rivalry week. SHU posted a 51-34 win at home on Thursday night and after Saturday's win have posted victories in 13 of the last 16 meetings between the Nutmeg state rivals.
SHU opened up a 5-2 lead at the first media timeout and pushed the lead to 11-4 at the 11:52 mark with five different Pioneers scoring in the game's opening minutes. Both teams struggled to find offense as Quinnipiac played through a seven minute stretch without a field goal while the Pioneers went five minutes between an Evan's jumper at 12:43 and a three by the freshman at 7:25. Taylor followed the Evans three with a lay-in underneath and SHU led 14-6 at 6:39.
A three by Apo gave the Pioneers a 19-11 lead at the five minute mark but a quick 6-2 spurt by the Bobcats made it a one possession game just under two minutes to go. Courtney Kaminski hit on a lay-up and jumper followed by free throws by Shelby Sferra and a one from Kathleen Neyens made it 21-18 Sacred Heart. Apo answered to swing the momentum back to the Pioneers, hitting a dribble drive lay-up and a three from the top of the circle for a 26-18 lead at the break.
The Pioneers, who didn't shoot a free throw in the first half, went to the charity stripe 18 times in the second half, making 17 as they outscored the Bobcats 40-33 in the second stanza. QU pulled within 28-23 in the opening minutes of the second half, thanks to a 5-2 spurt. Three-point plays by Taylor and freshman Morgan Merriman (Seattle, WA) put the Pioneers up 13, 36-23, and a three from Apo extended the lead to 39-27 by the 12 minute mark.
SHU continued to build their lead, capping a 16-5 run with a Taylor jumper and a pair of Apo free throws for their biggest lead at 45-28 with 8:48 left to play. The Bobcats made one last run and was able to cut the lead under double digits with three minutes on the clock. Kaminski helped fuel the 15-7 rally with 11 of her 16 second half points to pull her team within 52-43. A jumper by Merriman at 2:30 was followed by 12-straight free throws by the Pioneers to seal away the win, their fifth-straight.
Merriman came off the bench to play 26 minutes, matching her season-high, scoring nine points with six rebounds, two steals and two blocks. The Pioneers shot 40.7% (22-54) and took advantage of 18 QU turnovers for 14 points.
Kaminski finished with a game-high 22 points along with eight rebounds. The Bobcats held the advantage on the glass, 37-32, with 19 second chance points.
Sacred Heart is back in action on Thursday, February 11th playing host to the Long Island Blackbirds.