Feb. 11, 2010
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (February 11, 2010) - Long Island's Chelsi Johnson posted a double double with 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Blackbirds to a 66-56 Northeast Conference win over Sacred Heart Thursday night in the William H. Pitt Center. LIU outscored the Pioneers 42-30 in the paint and shot 51.9% (27-52) from the field to deal SHU their second conference loss of the season. Sacred Heart junior Alisa Apo (Freehold, NJ) finished with 20 points hitting nine-of-13 from the field, her sixth 20-point game on the year.
The Pioneers (18-6, 11-2 NEC) scored first on an Apo three and led 9-7 at the 16:26 mark after a pair of fast break buckets. That would prove to be Sacred Heart's last lead of the night as LIU opened a double digit lead thanks to a 12-5 run over the next five and a half minutes. Ashley Palmer converted on a pair of lay-ups and Krystal Wells hit on a three point play at 10:06 to give her team a 25-14 lead.
SHU chipped the lead down to seven, 27-20, at the 7:20 mark but the Blackbirds closed the half strong, running their lead back to double digits. James and Wells both hit lay-ups over the final two minutes to send LIU into the locker room up 35-23.
The Blackbird (15-9, 9-4 NEC) lead hit its high-water mark at 16, 50-34, just under six minutes in to the second half thanks to an opening 15-8 rally. Palmer hit a lay-up and a pair of free throws while Kiara Evans buried a three on the run. Down 54-38, SHU made a run at it cutting the lead to nine with 9:22 to go. Sophomore Callan Taylor (Overland Park, KS) started a 9-2 run with a jumper followed by an Apo runner in the lane. Junior Maggie Cosgrove (Andover, MA) buried a three and Taylor followed with a pair of free throws to trail 56-47.
LIU quickly answered going inside to Palmer who drew a foul and hit one of two and a Johnson lay-in underneath to go up 59-47. Back-to-back jumpers by freshman Kiley Evans (Cazenovia, NY) cut the lead to 59-51 with 7:17 on the clock. Johnson put a stop to any SHU comeback draining a three on the next Blackbird possession and finished her team's scoring at 4:11 with a fast break lay-up and a 66-54 lead. Apo got the Pioneers last hoop with a transition bucket of her own but neither team would score over the final three minutes as LIU kept the Pioneers at bay the rest of the way.
The Pioneers shot 43.4% (23-53) from the field but just 21.1% (4-19) from behind the arc. SHU did force 24 turnovers and turned those into 26 points but had 20 miscues of their own. Both Taylor and Evans had 12 points each in the loss. The Pioneers have lost two NEC home games for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
LIU got 15 points and eight rebounds off the bench from Palmer while James finished with 10 points. Evans scored nine points with nine assists and seven rebounds in the win.
Sacred Heart will play host to St. Francis (NY) on Saturday afternoon. Tip-off is slated for 1:00 pm.