Sacred Heart Falls at Monmouth, 65-58, in NEC Regular Season Finale
Feb. 27, 2010
WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. (February 27, 2010) - The Sacred Heart Pioneers closed out the regular season Saturday afternoon falling at Monmouth University, 65-58, in Northeast Conference action. The Pioneers got 23 points and six assists from junior Alisa Apo (Freehold, NJ) and a 12 point, 10 rebound double double from sophomore Callan Taylor (Overland Park, KS) in a the loss, SHU's fifth in their last six games. Sacred Heart will be making their 11th-straight appearance in the NEC Tournament next week as they head to Loretto, Pa. as the #3 seed.
Sacred Heart closes the regular season 19-10 overall and 12-6 in the NEC, one win shy of their fourth 20 win season in the last five years and seventh overall. SHU's six conference losses are the most since their 12-6 campaign in 2002-03.
Monmouth (16-13, 11-7) jumped in front 12-5 and built an 11-point lead thanks in great part to five-of-nine shooting from three-point range. Gabby Singer buried her second three of the first half to put her team up 23-12 at the seven minute mark. SHU's Apo carried the Pioneers on a 10-0 run, scoring eight points on the rally to pull within one just three minutes later. A three off the junior's hand forced a MU timeout at 5:18. Apo followed with a pull-up jumper and a long three from the top of the key to pull within 23-22, forcing a second Hawk timeout at 4:04.
The Hawks responded just before the break with Erin Rooney hitting a jumper and Carly Thibault picking a pass and scoring in transition for a 29-24 lead. SHU's Morgan Merriman (Seattle, WA) hit a jumper with three ticks left to send the Pioneers into the locker room down 29-26.
SHU opened the second half and jumped in front quickly as a Taylor three at 17:12 put Sacred Heart up 33-32. Taylor tied the game at 37-37 with 11:45 left on a dribble drive lay-in and her second three of the half put the Pioneers up 40-37 at 9:52. With Sacred Heart up 42-39, Monmouth put together a 9-0 spurt to take the lead back for good. The Hawks kept the Pioneers off the scoreboard for nearly five minutes and went up 48-42 with 4:56 to play.
Junior Maggie Cosgrove (Andover, MA) buried her first three of the day to pull SHU within 50-47 at 3:05 but a pair of Hawk free throws followed by an Alysha Womack steal and break-away lay-in put the Hawks up 54-47 forcing a SHU timeout with 2:40 left. Monmouth put the win away at the free throw line hitting nine-of-10 over the final 1:34.
Womack led her team with 23 points while Rooney finished with 11 points and six assists. The Hawks held a 40-35 edge on the glass with 16 offensive caroms. Abby Martin and Alexis Canady led the way combining for 21 rebounds in the win.
The Pioneers shot 40.4% (21-52) in the loss and turned it over 18 times. Freshman Kiley Evans (Cazenovia, NY) scored 13 points with six rebounds.
Sacred Heart will move on to the 2010 Northeast Conference next week in Loretto, Pa. The Pioneers are the #3 seed in the field of eight teams and will face #6 seeded Central Connecticut State on Saturday, March 6th at 8:00 pm on the campus of Saint Francis (PA). The semifinals are set for Sunday, March 7th at 1:30 pm and 4:00 pm.