January 29, 2010

Pioneers Head to Wagner Saturday Afternoon

Jan. 29, 2010

Sacred Heart vs. Wagner Game Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

Sacred Heart Pioneers (15-5, 8-1 NEC) vs. Wagner Seahawks (7-13, 4-5 NEC)

Game #21 - Saturday, January 30, 2010 - 3:00 pm Staten Island, N.Y. - Spiro Sports Center (2,100)

Radio: www.SacredHeartPioneers.com     Multimedia: Live Stats

The Storyline... The Sacred Heart Pioneers take their 8-1 Northeast Conference record on the road Saturday afternoon to visit the Wagner Seahawks. The Pioneers came away with a 51-47 win at Mount St. Mary’s Thursday night, finding a way to overcome their poorest shooting effort of the season, 25.9% (14-54). SHU was stellar at the free throw line, hitting 20-of-22 (.900) led by junior Alisa Apo’s 10-of-11 performance. The Seahawks are coming off a 72-58 win over Quinnipiac on Thursday and have won two-straight and three of their last four. Wagner is 4-5 in the NEC and sits tied for seventh in the conference standings.

Series... The Pioneers lead the all-time series, 15-7. Sacred Heart has won 10-straight in the series after a 69-54 win at home earlier this season. The two schools met for the first time during the 1978-79 season and again in 1979-80 but it would be 19 years before they would take to the hardwood again when Sacred Heart joined the Northeast Conference. The Seahawks and Pioneers have met once in the NEC Tournament with Wagner posting a 59-56 win in the first round of the 2000 playoffs at Monmouth.

SHU in the Northeast Conference... Sacred Heart is in its 11th season of play in the Northeast Conference and has posted a 146-43 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 146 victories.

The Coaches... Ed Swanson (SHU ‘89) is in his 20th season as head coach at his alma mater. Swanson posts a 337-226 record in his career at Sacred Heart. His teams have a 211-107 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 (337). He has been named the NEC Coach of the Year three times and is the all-time leader in regular season NEC wins (146). Gela Mikalauskas (Kean ‘77) is in her 16th season as the head coach at Wagner College. Mikalauskas has a 200-242 record in her 16 seasons. This is Mikalauskas second stint as head coach of the Seahawks. She was named the NEC Coach of the Year in 1989 and is a member of the Wagner Athletics Hall of Fame. Scouting the Seahawks... The Wagner Seahawks welcome the Pioneers to the Spiro Center fresh off a 72-58 win over Quinnipiac on Thursday, a win that snapped a 15-game losing streak to the Bobcats. The Seahawks have won two-straight and three of their last four. Junior Meghan Mahoney, a transfer from Fordham, became eligible 11 games ago and has stepped right in and become an offensive force. Mahoney leads the team in scoring at 14.7 points per game. She adds to that 5.2 rebounds per night along with 28 assists and 20 steals. On the block, juniors Sha’Ron Harrison and Ashley Olsen are averaging a combined 18.0 points and 13.9 rebounds per game. Point guard Andrea Reed is fourth in the NEC in assists (5.60 apg) and third in steals (2.31 spg).

Last Meeting with Wagner... Sacred Heart’s Callan Taylor posted a double double with 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Pioneers to a 69-54 win over Wagner on January 9th. Sacred Heart got 14 points from freshman Kiley Evans and 10 points from senior Lindsey Gibson matching her career-high. Wagner jumped in front 8-4 with 16:57 on the clock but a three from Evans got the Pioneers started on what would a 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. 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.

Last Time Out... The Sacred Heart Pioneers hit 20-of-22 at the free throw line to help overcome their poorest shooting game of the season, 25.9% (14-54), on the way to a 51-47 win at Mount St. Mary’s Thursday night. Junior Alisa Apo led the way hitting 10-of-11 at the charity stripe en route to 20 points in the win. SHU held the Mount scoreless over the last 3:25 of the game, scoring the last six points of the night to secure the win. Both teams shot under 20% from the field in the second half with the Pioneers needing to overcome just a four-of-29 effort. The game featured 16 lead changes with SHU grabbing the lead for good with 1:16 to go. The first half saw the Pioneers turn it over 14 times, tying their highest total in the first 20 minutes this season (14 - Saint Peter’s). Mount used the 14 Pioneer miscues to the tune of 15 points to help overcome a 10-of-32 shooting effort. The Mount also did the job on the glass, out rebounding SHU 19-15 with 10 offensive boards. Sacred Heart freshman Kiley Evans scored nine of her 13 points in the first half as both teams played to a 29-29 tie at the break. Apo gave the Pioneers an early three-point lead in the opening minutes of the second half, 34-31, burying a three from the wing at 18:05 but the Pioneers would go without another field goal until the 8:51 mark. The Mount failed to capitalize, taking only a two point advantage, 36-34, during the stretch. Apo ended the drought with a lay-up and foul, finishing the three-point play for a 37-36 advantage. The lead changed hands five more times over the next five minutes with neither team able to push their lead to more than a bucket. With the game tied at 45-4, the Mount scored their final points of the night on a Leah Westbrook’s lay-in at 3:25. After getting a stop on the defensive end, SHU’s Evans missed a pull up jumper but fellow freshman Morgan Merriman chased down the last of her season-high six rebounds and fed junior Callan Taylor for a baseline jumper and a 48-47 lead with 1:16 left. The Pioneers hit three-of-four at the foul line in the closing minute and came up with a pair of defensive rebounds to hold the Mountaineers at bay and steal the win. Taylor finished with just eight points but pulled down 12 rebounds, just missing her 12th double double of the season. SHU turned it over 21 times overall, leading to 23 Mount points at the other end. The Mount shot just 24.2% (15-62) and failed to make a three, going 0-for-11.

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