Pioneers Head to First Place Robert Morris Thursday Night
Feb. 17, 2010
Sacred Heart Pioneers (18-7, 11-3 NEC) vs. Robert Morris Colonials (18-7, 13-1 NEC)
Game #26 - Saturday, February 13, 2010 - 1:00 pm Moon Township, Pa. - Charles L. Sewall Center (3,056)
Radio: www.SacredHeartPioneers.com Multimedia: Live Stats
The Storyline... The Sacred Heart Pioneers head to Western Pennsylvania looking to halt a two-game skid facing the Robert Morris Colonials Thursday night. The Pioneers have lost two-straight Northeast Conference games for the first time since the 2005-06 season heading into their match-up with the first place Colonials. Robert Morris comes in having won eight-straight and sit atop the standings with a 13-1 mark. The Pioneers are two games back in second place at 11-3. SHU will head to Saint Francis (PA) to face the Red Flash live on MSG Saturday afternoon.
Series... Sacred Heart leads the all-time series, 13-6 after sweeping both meetings last year. Sacred Heart and Robert Morris have met twice in the postseason, both Colonial wins. RMU posted a 68-66 win in the 2007 NEC Championship game and knocked the Pioneers out of the 2005 tournament semifinals with a 68-62 overtime win in Fairfield. SHU is 7-3 at home and 6-3 in Moon Township.
SHU in the Northeast Conference... Sacred Heart is in its 11th season of play in the Northeast Conference and has posted a 149-45 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 149 victories.
The Coaches... Ed Swanson (SHU `89) is in his 20th season as head coach at his alma mater. Swanson posts a 340-228 record in his career at Sacred Heart. His teams have a 214-109 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 (340). He has been named the NEC Coach of the Year three times and is the all-time leader in regular season NEC wins (149). Sal Buscaglia (Canisius `76) is in his seventh season at the helm of the Robert Morris women's basketball program. Buscaglia has a 121-86 record as the head coach at Robert Morris leading the Colonials to a pair of NEC titles. He owns a 608-277 mark in his 32 years as a head coach.
Scouting the Colonials... The Robert Morris Colonials have won eight-straight coming in and sit alone atop the Northeast Conference standings at 13-1. Robert Morris will play host to SHU and Quinnipiac this week before closing the regular season on the road at Wagner and Mount St. Mary's next week. The Colonials have the league's top-scoring defense, allowing 56.4 points per game and are tops in field goal percent defense (36.0%). Senior guard Angela Pace averages 14.9 points per game and is second in the NEC in assists at 5.48 per game. Freshman Vega Gimeno-Martinez is one of the league's top-rookies averaging 10.2 points per game.
Last Meeting with Robert Morris... Sophomore Alisa Apo buried a pair of free throws with 16 seconds left to put Sacred Heart up 59-58 and hit two more with five ticks left to lift the Pioneers to a 61-60 win on the road at Robert Morris on February 12, 2009. Robert Morris closed the first half piecing together a 14-6 run fueled by senior Sade Logan who scored nine points during the rally to give her team a 30-26 lead at the break. Logan finished with 18 points in the first half hitting seven-of-15 from the field as the Colonials sent the Pioneers into the locker room trailing for the first time in NEC play. SHU erased the four-point deficit right out of the break but the Colonials came right back and used a 10-4 spurt to take a six-point lead, 42-36, at the 14:50 mark. RMU's Monet Johnson scored all 10 points herself on the run, starting and ending it with three-point plays. The Colonials took their biggest lead at 46-39 after Logan hit all three free throws after getting fouled behind the arc. SHU was able to chip away and thanks to an 11-4 rally that tied the game at 52-52 with 6:14 left. Callan Taylor gave the Pioneers their first lead since the 8:22 mark of the first half with a dribble-drive lay-up at 4:19. Robert Morris' Grace Williams made one of two free throws with 41 seconds left to put her team up 59-58. Apo drew a foul with 16 ticks left, promptly knocking down both for a 59-58 advantage. Aftser a turnover, the Colonials were forced to foul, RMU put Apo back on the line where she knocked down two more for a 61-58 lead forcing the Colonials to hit a three to tie. Kendra Williams got the ball to half court where her only option was a wide open Mary Durojay who hit a lay-up just before the horn, leaving her team a point short of forcing overtime. Apo was six-of-14 from the field and five-of-six at the line on her way to an 18 point night.
Last Time Out... Sacred Heart's Alisa Apo scored a game-high 25 points but couldn't get her last shot to fall with one second left as the Pioneers came up short, falling to St. Francis (NY) 64-63 Saturday afternoon in the William H. Pitt Center. The Pioneers drop their second-straight Northeast Conference, ending a 17-game winning streak in the series between the two schools dating back to the 1999-2000 season. St. Francis's used a first half 16-3 run to build a 25-13 lead. Sacred Heart went to work and used a 9-1 spurt to cut the lead to 26-22 with 1:32 to play in the half. The Terriers shot 50.0% (12-24) in the first half, outscoring SHU 14-8 in the paint while holding the Pioneers to 23.3% (7-30) shooting. St. Francis kept the hot hand to start the second half and led by seven, 37-30, just over three minutes in. SHU twice pulled within one point over the next four and a half minutes. The Terriers answered and pushed their lead to seven, 47-40, at 10:27. St. Francis (NY) went cold and Sacred Heart took advantage, ripping off a 14-0 run over a two and a half minute stretch to take their biggest lead of the game at 58-50, their first lead since the 13:49 mark of the first half. The Terriers refused to fold and an Autumn Lau three was followed by a three-point play by Tiara Dunson to quickly slice the lead to 58-56. Down 61-56, Terrier guard Shannon Gant followed with three big makes. Sacred Heart had two chances to extend their lead but a pair of free throw misses by Apo and a turnover by Kiley Evans gave the Terriers the ball with a chance for a lead. The Terriers went to Gantt and she delivered burying a runner underneath off a feed from Dunson for a 64-63 lead with 1:07 left. Gantt followed that with a stellar defensive effort, getting steal forcing SHU to foul with 27 seconds left. Dunson went to the line for a one-and-one but missed the front end as Lindsey Gibson pulled down the rebound and set up SHU with a chance at the last shot. The Pioneers went to Apo who broke clear across the lane but saw here lay-up attempt just carom out with one second remaining leaving SHU a point shy of the win. Apo's 25 point afternoon came on eight-of-20 shooting and eight-of-13 at the free throw line. Cosgrove buried five-of-10 from behind the arc on her way to a 19-point afternoon. The Terriers finished the game shooting 53.1% (26-49) and where led by Kim Snauwaert who scored 16 points. Autumn Lau finished with 12 points while Dunson had 10 points.
Cosgrove Nears Another 3-pt Record... Junior guard Maggie Cosgrove is closing in on her second school record this season, heading into Thursday's game one three-point field goal away from tying the school mark for triples in a season. Last season, she tied the school record for three point makes in a season, matching Lisa Moray's 69 threes from the 2006-07 season. Just 84 games into her Sacred Heart career, Cosgrove set the new school record for career three-point field goals this season. Cosgrove buried four-of-five from behind the arc at Wagner to pass Ashley Kohl on the SHU all-time list. Kohl's set the previous mark of 173 from 2000 through 2004. Cosgrove is at 185 career three's and counting Her career three-point percentage of 43.2% is currently tops all-time at Sacred Heart.
Home Struggles... The Pioneers are 8-5 at home this season, matching the five losses at home during the 2004-05 (11-5) and 2000-01 (7-5) seasons, the most since starting play in the William H. Pitt Center in 1997. SHU has one game left on the home slate, February 25th against Fairleigh Dickinson. For the first time in program history, SHU dropped two-straight NEC games at home, falling to LIU and St. Francis (NY) last week.