January 8, 2010

Sacred Heart Closes Three-Game Home Set Hosting the Mount

Jan. 8, 2010

Sacred Heart vs.. Mount St. Mary's Game Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

Sacred Heart Pioneers (10-4, 3-0 NEC) vs. Mt. St. Mary’s Mountaineers (5-8, 1-2 NEC)

Game #15 - Saturday, January 9, 2010 - 1:00 pm Fairfield, Conn. - William H. Pitt Center (2,100)

Radio: www.SacredHeartPioneers.com       Multimedia: Gametracker, Live Video

The Storyline... Sacred Heart closes out a three-game Northeast Conference home stand on Saturday afternoon playing host to the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers. The Pioneers won their 21st-straight regular season NEC game Thursday night, dealing the Wagner Seahawks a 69-54 win. Sophomore forward Callan Taylor led the way with her seventh double double on the season with 18 points and 11 rebounds. The Mount broke into the NEC win column Thursday night, dealing Quinnipiac a 59-53 loss.

Series... Sacred Heart leads the all-time series, 17-4. The Pioneers swept the season series and then knocked the Mount out of the NEC Tournament with a first round 73-59 win in the Pitt Center last season. The Mount snapped a 13-game Pioneer winning streak in the series with a 74-63 win at home in their only meeting during the 2007-08 season. Sacred Heart’s 13-game streak extended back to the 2001-02 season and included a pair of NEC Tournament meetings with the Pioneers ending the Mount’s season in 2005 and 2007. The two schools met for the first time during SHU’s inaugural season in the NEC, splitting both meetings. SHU is 11-0 at home against the Mount, 6-3 in Emmitsburg and 0-1 at a neutral site.

SHU in the Northeast Conference... Sacred Heart is in its 11th season of play in the Northeast Conference and has posted a 141-42 conference record over that span. The Pioneers are coming off their second NEC Championship along with a 21-0 run through the league last season. SHU won their first championship during the 2005-06 season, running off a 26-5 record and 16-2 NEC mark. SHU has never finished lower then tied for third in the final league standings. Head Coach Swanson is the leader in all-time NEC wins at 141 victories.

The Coaches... Ed Swanson (SHU ‘89) is in his 20th season as head coach at his alma mater. Swanson posts a 333-225 record in his career at Sacred Heart. His teams have a 206-105 record since joining the Division I ranks in 1999-00. Swanson was inducted in to the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009 and is the program’s longest tenured coach and all-time leader in coaching wins (332). He has been named the NEC Coach of the Year three times and is the all-time leader in regular season NEC wins (141). Bryan Whitten (King’s College ‘91) is in his third season on the Mount St. Mary’s bench posting a 27-46. Whitten began his coaching career as the head coach of Division III King’s College where he led the Lady Monarchs to a 220-103 record.

Scouting the Mount... Mount St. Mary’s picked up their first NEC win on Thursday night, winning at Quinnipiac 59-53. The Mount is 1-2 in league play, falling at Pennsylvania schools, 68-51 at Saint Francis and 82-52 at Robert Morris. Freshman guard Cassie Cooke made her collegiate debut four games ago and is averaging 12.0 points while shooting 50.0% (15-30) from the field. Junior forward Mary Dunn is averaging 10.8 points and is sixth in the NEC in rebounding at 7.2 boards per game. The Mount is third in the league in scoring defense (58.5 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (.371).

Last Meeting with Mt. St. Mary’s... Sacred Heart senior Kaitlin Sowinski matched her career-high with 33 points to lead the top-seeded Pioneers past Mount St. Mary’s, 73-59, in the opening round of the 2009 Northeast Conference Tournament. Sowinski’s 33 points came on 13-of-20 shooting and went along with 10 rebounds. Sowinski also tied her owns Sacred Heart Division I record for points in a game. Sacred Heart used an 11-2 run to take a 25-16 advantage at 9:31 and closed out the first half up 11, 35-24. Callan Taylor nearly completed a double double in the first half with nine points and nine boards. The second half belonged to SHU’s Sowinski who poured in 23 of her 33 before fouling out with 1:24 left in the game. Right out of the locker room Sowinski converted on an Alisa Apo feed who then followed with a long three for a 40-24 advantage. Sowinski scored all of the Pioneers next 11 points and to give SHU a 51-34 advantage with 14:16 on the clock. The Mount chipped away and cut the lead to single digits, 51-42 at the 12 minute mark but the Pioneers went right back to Sowinski who delivered with two-consecutive three-point plays as the Pioneers pushed their lead back to 17, 63-46, with 7:19 left. Apo left no doubt for the Pioneers as she netted eight of her 15 points down the stretch to keep the Mount from getting no closer than 14-points en route to the win. Taylor matched Sowinski’s double double with 13 points and 13 rebounds, eight on the offensive end. The Pioneers as a team shot 42.2% (27-64) from the field and held the edge on the boards, 42-36, and in the paint 32-28 in the win. Mount’s Brianna Gauthier finished with 18 points in her final game but made just one-of-10 from the field in the second half. Leah Westbrook nabbed a double double with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Last Time Out... Sacred Heart sophomore Callan Taylor posted her seventh double double of the season with 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Pioneers to a 69-54 win over Wagner College Thursday night. Sacred Heart got 14 points from freshman Kiley Evans and 10 points on five-of-six shooting from senior Lindsey Gibson matching her career-high set last time out against Monmouth. The first half was all SHU as the Pioneers used a 20-2 run to erase an early Seahawk lead and grab control of the game. Wagner jumped in front 8-4 with 16:57 on the clock but a three from Evans got the Pioneers started on what would be the game-changing 20-2 run over the next 10:42. The rally included 15-straight Pioneer points en route to a 24-10 lead with 6:15 left in the half. Sophomore Alexis Campbell buried a pair of three’s on the run and finished the first half with eight points, a new career high. The Pioneers pushed their lead to 36-20 at intermission, shooting 50.0% (15-30) from the floor, including 11-for-16 to close out the half. The Seahawks, meanwhile, were just 8-of-28 (28.6 percent), but hit on 50.0 percent (3-6) from beyond the arc. Sacred Heart opened the second half strong and led by as many as 27 points over the first 10 minutes of action. Down 57-32 with 9:41 left, the Seahawks chipped away and put together a 16-4 run led by Sha’Ron Harrison underneath to cut the Pioneer lead to 11 with just under six to play. Harrison had 10 of her game-high 20 points on the run while Ashley Olsen chipped in with all six of her points on the night during the rally. Taylor found Gibson underneath for a lay-in at 5:13 and then the sophomore forward buried a long three at 4:36 to right the ship and put the Pioneers up 16, 64-48. The Seahawks missed their next five shots and the Pioneers hit five-of-six at the free throw line down the stretch to seal the win. Despite their hot shooting in the first half, SHU hit just 10-of-32 (.313) in the second half, including three-of-16 (.188) from behind the arc. The Pioneers took a season-high 26 three’s in the game, but made just seven (.269). Wagner held the rebounding edge, 43-34. Junior Alisa Apo saw her streak of 12-straight games in double figures end going three-of-nine for seven points in the win. SHU forced 23 turnovers on the night, leading to 19 points at the other end, while turning it over just 13 times

Pioneers NEC Streaking... The Pioneers have won 21-straight Northeast Conference regular season game after their win over Wagner on Thursday night. SHU has won 24-straight against NEC opponents, including their three tournament victories last season. SHU ran through the NEC schedule undefeated last season, 18-0, matching the same marks of the 2003-04 Saint Francis (PA) Red Flash and 1993-94 Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers as the only schools to play a perfect 18-game league slate. All three teams went on to claim the NEC Championships those seasons. Both the Red Flash and the Mount won 25-stragiht NEC regular season games. Saint Francis (PA) won 31-consecutive games against NEC teams, including tournament games, over the span of the 2002-03 through 2004-05 season. The Mount won 30-straight, including tournament victories, over the span of the 1992-93 through 1994-95 seasons. The Monmouth Hawks posted 34-straight regular season conference wins during the span of the 1986-87 through 1988-89 seasons, including back-to-back 16-0 runs in ‘86-’87 and ‘87-’88. The Hawks won 35-straight games against NEC teams, including tournament wins, seeing their streak end with a loss to Robert Morris in the 1988 NEC Championship game.

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