Dec. 1, 2009
Sacred Heart Pioneers (3-2, 0-0 NEC) vs. Hartford Hawks (4-1, 0-0 America East)
Game #6 - Tuesday, December 1, 2009 - 7:00 pm - Fairfield, Conn. - William H. Pitt Center (2,100)
Radio: WICC 600 am; SacredHeartPioneers.com Multimedia: Gametracker; Video
The Storyline... The Sacred Heart Pioneers put their three-game winning streak on the line Tuesday night when they welcome the Hartford Hawks to the William H. Pitt Center. The teams will match-up for the first time on the court since the 2000-01 season. Sacred Heart will hit the road after hosting the Hawks, playing four-straight away from the friendly confines of the Pitt Center over the next three weeks. SHU’s Alisa Apo was named the Choice Hotels Northeast Conference Player of the Week on Monday after averaging 21.5 points and 7.0 assists in a pair of wins last week. The Hawks are off to a 4-1 start to the season and come to town off a 65-54 win over Temple of the Atlantic 10 Conference last time out.
Series... Sacred Heart leads the all-time series, 5-3. The Pioneers and Hawks have not met on the hardwood since the 2000-01 season and SHU is 1-2 against Hartford since making the transition to Division I. Hartford won the last meeting, 67-55 in the Pitt Center on November 21, 2000. The first-ever meeting took place during the 1976-77 season, at 74-40 Pioneer win on the road. SHU held a 4-1 mark against the Hawks during both team’s Division II days. The Pioneers are 1-1 against Hartford at home in the Pitt Center.
SHU vs. America East... The Pioneers are 10-7 against the America East Conference since joining Division I in 1999-00. SHU 3-1 against Stony Brook, 3-0 against Binghamton, 2-2 against Albany, 1-2 against Hartford, 1-1 against New Hampshire and 0-1 against Vermont. The Pioneers have faced Albany, Binghamton, Hartford and Stony Brook in their Division II days. The Pioneers were 6-2 against UMBC when the Retrievers where a member of the Northeast Conference. With a win over Stony Brook already on their ledger this season, the Pioneers also have dates scheduled with Hartford and Binghamton.
The Coaches... Ed Swanson (SHU ‘89) is in his 20th season as head coach at his alma mater. Swanson posts a 325-223 record in his career at Sacred Heart. His teams have a 199-102 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 (325). He has been named the NEC Coach of the Year three times and is the all-time leader in regular season NEC wins (138). Jennifer Rizzotti (Connecticut ‘96) is in her 11th season on the bench for the Hartford Hawks. Rizzotti owns a career coaching record of 196-117 in her 10 seasons at the helm. She has led the Hawks to four America East Championships and trips to the NCAA Tournament over the past eight years.
Scouting the Hawks... The Hartford Hawks are 4-1 to start the 2009-10 season with wins over Quinnipiac (71-53), 19th ranked Louisville (62-50), Dartmouth (70-41) and last time out over Temple (65-54). The only blemish on the Hawks record was a 66-59 setback at Providence three games ago. Senior forward Erica Beverly was a unanimous America East Preseason All-Conference selection heading in to the year and is averaging 10.8 points and 9.0 rebounds in the early going this season. Joining Beverly earning Preseason All-Conference honors was senior center Diana Delva who comes in averaging 12.0 points and 8.4 rebounds per game while shooting 48.9% (22-45) from the field. Junior guard Mary Silva missed the season’s first four games with a wrist injury but returned to net a career-high 20 points in the Hawks win at home over the Owls last time out. Freshman Alex Hall was the America East Rookie of the Week last week after helping lead the Hawks over Dartmouth. The Hawks were picked to finish second in the Preseason America East Coaches’ Poll.
Last Meeting with Hartford... The University of Hartford Hawks posted a 67-55 win over Sacred Heart on November 21, 2000 in the William H. Pitt Center. No Pioneer found double digits as SHU shot just 33.9% (21-62) and fell behind 31-18 in the first half en route to a loss. Hartford was led by LaQuanda Brickhouse who came off the bench to scored 15 points with six rebounds and four assists. Angie Pexxatta finished with 11 points, five assists and three steals for the Hawks. Hartford shot 42.9% (21-49) in the win, forcing 22 Sacred Heart turnovers. The Pioneers got nine points apiece from Leslie Newhard and Tara Brady. Brooke Rutnik, Heather Coonradt and Kate Maher all finished with eight points apiece for SHU.
Last Time Out... Junior Alisa Apo finished with 15 points and reached the 1,000 point mark for her career as the Sacred Heart Pioneers picked-up their third-straight win beating Manhattan College 64-45 last Saturday. Apo led four players in double figures with sophomore Callan Taylor recording her third double double on the year with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Apo just missed her second career double double dishing out nine assists to go with three steals and three rebounds. SHU shot 48.1% (13-27) in the first half, 53.8% (7-13) from three led by Maggie Cosgrove whose three triples left her with 11 at the break. Manhattan was able to cut the lead to just seven with 11:31 to play but from there, it was all Pioneers as SHU closed the game’s final 11 minutes outscoring the Jaspers 22-10 on the way to the win. The Pioneers shot 45.1% (23-51) from the field in the win, 50.0% (11-22) from behind the arc. Both teams turned it over 21 times but the Pioneers took advantage with 24 points the other. Cosgrove again had the hot hand hitting five-of-seven from the field and four-of-five on her way to 14 point with four assists. Freshman Kiley Evans tallied 13 points, hitting three-of-four from behind the arc with four assists. Manhattan held 24-14 advantage in the paint, 17 coming from Lindsey Loutsenhizer. The Jaspers shot just 30.2% (16-53) from the field.
Apo Reaches 1,000 Career Points... Sacred Heart junior Alisa Apo became the 14th Pioneer in school history to reach 1,000 points for her career. Apo’s 15 point game against Manhattan put the junior co-captain over the century mark in her 68th career game, making her the second fastest player to 1,000 points in school history. The fastest Pioneer to 1,000 points was all-time leading scorer Amanda Pape (2003-07) who reached the mark in her 66th career game. Apo sits 14th on the all-time list with 1,004 career points.
Apo Earns Season’s First NEC Player of the Week Award... Alisa Apo led Sacred Heart in both scoring and assists during a pair of victories last week to earn her first Choice Hotels NEC Player of the Week award this season. The reigning NEC Player of the Year averaged 21.5 points, 7.0 assists, and 3.0 rebounds in double-digit non-conference wins over Stony Brook and Manhattan. In her best performance of the young season, Apo poured in a game-high 28 points (an NEC single-game season high), dished out five assists, and came away with two steals in powering the Pioneers to an 83-70 road triumph over the Seawolves. The 5-foot-9 guard scored 17 of her 28 points from the charity stripe, using her quickness and athleticism to earn 22 free throws. Apo led four Pioneers in double figures with 15 points and inflicted the majority of her damage from beyond the arc where she finished 3-for-7 shooting. Her 37 assists in five games (7.40 apg) leads the NEC while her 15.8 points per contest rank third.
Cosgrove Off to Hot Start... Junior Maggie Cosgrove is off to the fast start offensively, shooting 52.5% (21-40) from the field while hitting a team-high 15-of-26 from three (.577). She has found double digits in three-straight games heading into Tuesday night. She leads the NEC in three point makes per game, averaging 3.00 per outing. For her efforts in wins over Stony Brook (18 pts) and Manhattan (14 pts), Cosgrove was named the Enterprise Rent-A-Car / Sacred Heart Student-Athlete of the Week on Monday. Apo’s Parade to the Charity Stripe... Junior Alisa Apo has been on a steady trip to the free throw line through the first five games this season. Apo has made 48 trips to the line, tops in the NEC, hitting 36 (.750). Apo hit a career-high 17 free throws in 22 trips in last Tuesday’s win at Stony Brook, leading to a season-high 28 points.
Double Trouble for Taylor... Forward Callan Taylor has posted three double doubles in the season’s first five games. Taylor is coming off a 14 point, 12 rebound effort against Manhattan last time out and is shooting an even 50.0% (28-56) from the field and leads the NEC from behind the arc, knocking down 62.5% (10-16) in the early going. On the year, she is just shy of averaging a double dip at 15.4 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.
Sharing is Caring... The Pioneers are leading the NEC in assists per game averaging 16.6 helpers per game. Junior Alisa Apo leads the team and the conference with 37 assists, a 7.40 per game average. The Pioneers have twice passed out 20 or more assists in a game this season, dishing out a season-high 24 against Harvard and 21 against Manhattan. xxxxxxxxxxx