Nov. 15, 2009
Sacred Heart Pioneers (0-1, 0-0 NEC) vs. Villanova Wildcats (0-0, 0-0 Big East)
Game #2 - Monday, November 16, 2009 - 7:00 pm - Fairfield, Connecticut - William H. Pitt Center (2,000)
Radio: SacredHeartPioneers.com Multimedia: Live Video; Gametracker
The Storyline... The Sacred Heart Pioneers play host to the Villanova Wildcats of the Big East Monday night in the 2009-10 home opener in the William H. Pitt Center. The Pioneers have won 12-straight in the Pitt Center dating back to last season as they take on a Wildcat team opening their season Monday night. SHU is looking to rebound from a 79-55 setback at Columbia in their opener Friday night. The loss to the Lions in the opener was the Pioneers first on the road since a 69-52 loss at Villanova on December 28, 2008. That loss was the last before SHU ran off 21-straight on their way to the NEC title last season. That streak ended in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Ohio State.
Series... Villanova leads the series, 1-0. The Wildcats took the first ever meeting last season at home, 69-52, at The Pavilion. This is Villanova’s first-ever visit to the William H. Pitt Center.
Pioneers vs. the Big East... Sacred Heart is 3-11 all-time against the Big East Conference. The Pioneers saw their three-game winning streak against the Big East snapped last season with a pair of road losses, 77-55 at Marquette and at Villanova, 69-52. Sacred Heart is 1-1 against Boston College when the Eagles were a member of the Big East. SHU is 2-1 against Providence and 1-1 against Syracuse. The Pioneers have losing records against Marquette (0-2), Pittsburgh (0-2), Georgetown (0-2), Villanova (0-1) and Seton Hall (0-3).
The Coaches... Ed Swanson (SHU ‘89) is in his 20th season as head coach at his alma mater. Swanson posts a 322-222 record in his career at Sacred Heart. His teams have a 196-103 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 (322). He has been named the NEC Coach of the Year three times and is the all-time leader in regular season NEC wins (138). Harry Perretta (Lycoming ‘78) is in his 32nd season on the Villanova bench, compiling a 572-343 career mark. He is the all-time winningest coach in the history of Villanova basketball for both men and women. He has led the Wildcats into the postseason in nine of the last 10 seasons.
Scouting the Wildcats... The 2009-10 Villanova Wildcats will open their season tonight, returning seven players including three starters from last year’s club. The Wildcats finished 19-14 in 2008-09, advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2003-04 campaign. Villanova finished fourth in the Big East a year ago with a 10-6 mark. A trio of senior guards leads the team into the season in Maria Getty, Tia Grant and Kyle Dougherty. The trio combined to start 73 games last season, with Getty ranking second on the squad in scoring (8.3 points per game), assists (65/2.0 per game) and steals (27/0.8 per game). The Wildcats will need to replace the scoring lost by the graduation of Laura Kurz, who was the lone Villanova player to average double figures scoring 17.4 points per game last season. Villanova was picked to finish 13th in this season’s Big East Preseason Media Poll.
Last Meeting with Villanova... Sacred Heart’s Callan Taylor hit eight-of-11 to finish with a team-high 20 points but the Pioneers fell short, 69-52, at Villanova in the first-ever meeting between the two schools on December 28, 2008. Taylor had 11 of her 20 in the first half; hitting her first five shots of the game as the Pioneers went on to shoot 52.6% (10-19) in the game’s first 20 minutes. Villanova was just a touch better, shooting 53.8% (14-26) with Siobhan O’Connor and Heather Scanlon chipping in 10 points apiece off the bench to give the Wildcats a 38-24 lead at the break. The Pioneers stood toe-to-toe with the Wildcats in the early going, leading 11-7 in the opening minutes. The two teams sat even at 17-17 with 10:27 to go but from there it was all Villanova the rest of the half. The Wildcats took control of the game, closing the half on a 21-7 run to never look back. O’Connor led all scorers with 22 points off the bench, making seven-of-eight, including three-of-three behind the arc. Villanova shot 50.0%, in the win and held a 36-18 advantage in the paint. In addition to Taylor’s 20, Alisa Apo finished with 13 points and eight assists before fouling out.
Last Time Out... Sacred Heart sophomore Callan Taylor poured in 21 points with four assists but the Pioneers came up short, 79-55, in the 2009-10 season opener at Columbia Friday night. The Lions had six players in double figures and shot a blistering 57.9% (33-57) from the field including seven-of-18 (.389) from behind the arc en route to the 24 point victory. Columbia used a strong inside game led by junior forward Judie Lomax who finished with a double double, hitting seven-of-11 for 14 points with 11 rebounds. Junior guard Kathleen Barry matched Lomax’s 14 points on six-of-11 shooting with five rebounds. The Lions set the tone for a hot shooting night right from the opening tip, starting the game six-from-six from the field to build an early 15-6 lead. The Pioneers tried to chip away at the Lion lead and pulled within seven, 29-22, thanks to a Taylor three-point play with 5:25 to go in the half. Columbia again used some strong shooting to close the first stanza with a 10-4 run, including a pair of the three’s from Barry and Melissa Shafer, to lead 39-26 at the break. Columbia opened the second half just as hot as they started the game, using a quick 10-3 spurt to go up 21 and force a Pioneer timeout. The Lions finished the second half hitting 17-of-27 (.630) while never letting SHU get closer than 15-points. SHU’s Taylor finished eight-of-14 from the field to lead all scorers as the Pioneers shot 46.7% (21-45) as a team. The Pioneers never led Friday night and turned the ball over 18 times leading to 23 Lions points. Lomax led the Lions inside game to a 38-22 advantage in the paint and 19 second chance points. SHU’s Apo was held to just eight points in the loss. In 33 games last season, Apo was held to single digits just once, scoring five points in a home loss to Rhode Island. 2009-10
Home Opener... The Pioneers play host to the Villanova Wildcats in the 2009-10 home opener. The Pioneers have lost two of their last three home openers as they put their 12-game home winning streak on the line against the Wildcats. SHU is 9-3 in home openers at the William H. Pitt Center since it’s opening during the 1997-98 season. xxxxxxxxxxxx