Jan. 13, 2010
Sacred Heart Pioneers (11-4, 4-0 NEC) vs. Bryant Bulldogs (4-10, 2-2 NEC)
Game #16 - Thursday, January 14, 2010 - 5:00 pm - Smithfield, R.I. - Chace Athletic Center (2,600)
Radio: www.SacredHeartPioneers.com Multimedia: Live Stats
The Storyline... The Sacred Heart Pioneers are on the road this week making a stop at Bryant University Thursday night. SHU is coming off a 67-56 win over Mount St. Mary’s on Saturday, their 22nd-straight NEC regular season win. the Pioneers will play back-to-back games against Central Connecticut State before welcoming Bryant to the Pitt Center next Saturday for the rematch. The Bulldogs snapped a six-game losing streak with a 72-62 win at Monmouth. The Pioneers are making their first visit to Bryant since the Bulldogs were named the 12th member of the Northeast Conference. Bryant will not be eligible for NEC postseason play until the 2012-13 season.
Series... Bryant leads the all-time series, 7-3. The Pioneers beat the Bulldogs, 64-50 last season in the first meeting between the two teams since the 1993-94 season, when both schools were in the Division II ranks. The first meeting took place on February 2, 1981, a 71-63 Bryant win at SHU. The Bulldogs ran off four-straight wins before the Pioneers picked-up their first win in the series during the 1985-86 campaign 87-86 win at home.
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 207-105 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 (333). He has been named the NEC Coach of the Year three times and is the all-time leader in regular season NEC wins (142). Mary Burke (Providence ‘88) is in her 19th season on the Bryant bench as she leads the Bulldogs into the transition to the Division I ranks. Burke owns a 261-262 mark at Bryant and overall with four NCAA tournament appearances and an ECAC title on her resume.
Scouting the Bulldogs... The Bryant Bulldogs snapped a six-game slide with a 72-62 win at Monmouth on Saturday. Despite a 4-10 record, the Bulldogs are 2-2 in the NEC with a win over St. Francis (NY), 55-41, also on their ledger. Senior forward Kelsey O’Keefe is the team’s leading scorer averaging 13.9 points per game, eighth among conference leaders. Junior forward Siamone Bennett averages 9.7 points and ranks 12th in the NEC in rebounding, averaging 6.8 boards per game. The Bulldogs rank third in the NEC in 3pt field goal defense (.313) and second in rebounding (41.5).
Last Meeting with Bryant... The Sacred Heart Pioneers used matching double doubles from Kaitlin Sowinski and Callan Taylor to overcome a poor shooting afternoon en route to a 64-50 win over visiting Bryant last February 28th. The Pioneers shot a season-low 30.9% (21-68) but turned 26 Bulldog turnovers into 31 points. Sowinski finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds while Taylor posted 11 points, 10 boards, four assists and three steals in the win. The Pioneers were able to take a 9-0 lead just over seven minutes in thanks to a 0-for-8 start to the game for Bryant. Kelsey O’Keefe snapped her team’s scoreless streak at 12:20 with a jumper on her way to a game-high 20 point afternoon. The Pioneers didn’t fare much better in the early going, shooting one-for-12 from behind the arc in the game’s first 10 minutes. The Bulldogs pulled within 16-11 at the 9:30 mark but SHU answered with a quick 7-0 spurt followed by a 14-3 run for a 30-14 lead. Bryant stormed out of the locker room at the half and posted a 10-2 run to cut the lead down to six, 40-34, to open the second half. The Pioneers responded by pushing the lead back to double digits, 49-37, on back to back Sowinski lay-ins with 10:25 on the clock. The Bulldogs cut the lead to eight at 8:18 but SHU put the game away over the next seven minutes as Apo got the Pioneers started on a 12-2 run with a jumper in the lane. Apo finished with a team-high 15 points with four assists, two blocks and a steal. The Pioneers shot a season-low 25.0% from three, taking a season-high 28 shots from behind the arc hitting just seven.
Last Time Out... Sacred Heart junior Maggie Cosgrove hit a career-high seven three’s, one off the school record, on her way to a 21 point afternoon as the Pioneers posted a 67-56 victory over Mount St. Mary’s on Saturday. Sophomore Callan Taylor recorded her eighth double double of the year with 19 points and 10 rebounds while junior Alisa Apo came up with 18 points in the win. The Pioneers struggled offensively in the first half, shooting just 29.4% (10-34) but took advantage of 12 Mount turnovers and a quick run to close the half for a 27-23 lead at the break. SHU would go nearly seven minutes managing just two points, and a 12-2 run would only put Mount up five, 21-16. SHU turned up the heat defensively and forced four of their 12 first half turnovers to help fuel a 9-0 run into the locker room. Freshman Morgan Merriman started the rally with a jumper in the lane and Cosgrove and Apo hit on back-to-back three’s at 26 seconds and the buzzer to send the Pioneers into the break up 27-23. Mount’s 12 miscues turned into 11 points at the other end. The Mount would pull the game even twice in the second half before Sacred Heart could finally pull away. Up 51-50 with just over seven minutes left, the Pioneers used a 14-4 run to seal the win. Apo hit on three straight shots inside on three-straight possessions and Taylor finished the rally with a lay-up off a feed from the junior point guard for a 65-54 lead with 1:53 left. Cosgrove’s 21 point day came on seven-of-14 from behind the arc. Apo added six rebounds, six assists and a pair of steals to her 18 points. Merriman finished with seven points and five rebounds off the bench for the Pioneers. The Mount held a 42-35 edge on the glass, scoring 14 second chance points. Mary Dunn finished with 16 points and seven boards.
Pioneers NEC Streaking... The Pioneers have won 22-straight Northeast Conference regular season game heading into this week’s games at Bryant and Central Connecticut State. SHU has won 25-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 during 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.
Cosgrove - NCAA 3-pt Leader... Junior Maggie Cosgrove leads the NEC and the nation in three-point shooting percentage, hitting 53.3% (40-75) from behind the arc on the year. The Pioneers as a team are fourth among NCAA leaders hitting 41.8% (94-225) on the year. She is averaging 2.67 three point makes per game, a mark that ranks second in the NEC and 34th in the NCAA. The junior guard is coming off a career-high seven-of-14 performance from behind the arc in Saturday’s win over Mount St. Mary’s. Cosgrove now has 157 career three-point makes, ranking her fourth on the Sacred Heart all-time list. The all-time leader is Ashley Kohl who hit 173 from 2000 through 2004. Ashley Durmer (1999-2003) is second with 165 career three’s and Lisa Moray (2004-08) sits in third with 160 career makes from downtown. Cosgrove shares the school record for three point makes in a season with Lisa Moray at 69, set last season (2008-09).
Apo Sharing the Rock... Junior guard Alisa Apo is among the NEC and NCAA leaders in assists on the year. Apo has 88 assists on the year, ranking second in the NEC and 18th in the nation averaging 5.9 helpers per game. She is fifth in the league in assist / turnover ratio, turning it over 62 times (1.42). The Pioneers as a team rank second in the league in assists (15.07) and first in assist / turnover ratio (226 / 252 / 0.90).