Pioneers Pull Away from Siena for Strong Win in Home Opener

Pioneers Pull Away from Siena for Strong Win in Home Opener

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – A strong second half surge powered the Sacred Heart women's basketball team to a 72-50 victory, their first of the season, over Siena on Tuesday. SHU finished the evening 28-for-54 (51.9 percent) from the field and 7-for-16 (43.8 percent) from three-point range, including a 24-for-40 (60 percent) clip over the final three quarters.

Four Pioneers scored in double figures with grad student Erin Storck leading the way with 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. Fellow graduate Katherine Haines scored 14 points and led the team with seven rebounds. Redshirt senior Candice Leatherwood scored 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting and sophomore Jayla Davis chipped in 11 points off the bench on 3-of-3 shooting.

The Sacred Heart (1-1) defense forced 17 Siena turnovers as the Pios outscored the Saints 23-8 off those miscues. Siena (0-2) also shot just 14-for-37 from the free throw line.

FIRST QUARTER

  • Storck drained consecutive three-pointers in the opening three minutes to put SHU up 6-2. Siena added a layup and one free throw to get within 6-5 at the 4:54 media timeout.
  • Leatherwood went coast-to-coast to answer a Siena basket before the Saints ran off four straight points to go up 11-8 with just under two minutes remaining.
  • Siena went on a 6-1 run before Abigail Kangudie scored her first points of the year with a layup at 1:03 to make it 13-11, but Siena answered with a layup with eight seconds left to take a 15-11 lead after one.
  • SHU shot just 4-for-14 (28.6 percent) in the opening 10 minutes and committed five turnovers, while Siena went 6-for-12 from the field and was just 3-for-9 from the free throw line.

SECOND QUARTER

  • SHU tied the score with four quick points from Haines and Adrianne Hagood to open the second.
  • Siena tied the game at 17, before a Storck free throw gave SHU the lead back, then Allyson Murphy picked the pocket of the point guard and took it all the way to the rim for two and gave SHU the 20-17 lead.
  • Davis connected on two from the line and Storck added a runner in the lane to up the SHU edge to 24-19 with 5:22 remaining, and Hagood answered a Siena free throw by hitting a jumper in the lane to make it 26-20.
  • Davis stepped up and sank a foul line jumper, and Storck moved into double figures on the next possession with a lay in to grow the lead to a half-high eight at 30-22 at 1:35.
  • A three by Siena in the closing seconds made it 31-26 at the half.

Sacred Heart shot 8-for-12 in the frame to finish 12-for-26 overall in the first half. Siena went 4-for-14 in the second quarter to finish the half 10-for-26. Both teams struggled at the line in the opening 20 minutes with Siena going just 5-for-15 with SHU going 5-for-10.

THIRD QUARTER

  • Siena scored four quick points open the quarter, but Haines caught fire and ran off seven straight to build the lead to 38-30 by the media timeout, highlighted by a beautiful put back off the glass while drawing the foul, and completing the three-point play at the line.
  • Murphy followed with a fast break basket, and Hagood added a hoop to extend the run to 11-2, and get the lead to double digits for the first time at 42-32 at the 4:04 mark.
  • SHU led 48-39 after three quarters.

FOURTH QUARTER

  • Sacred Heart pushed the pedal to the floor and put the game away early in the fourth quarter with a 13-0 run to take a 64-42 lead just over four minutes in.
  • Davis swished home a triple to get the lead to 51-39.
  • Leatherwood pushed the lead to 19 with one of her two threes on the evening, and Dabney followed with a long ball of her own to make it 64-42 at the 5:40 mark.
  • Leatherwood added her second three of the quarter, and Haines added one free throw to balloon the advantage to a game-high 28 points, 72-44 with 1:29 remaining.

QUOTABLES: Head Coach Jessica Mannetti

  • On turning the page after the first quarter:
    "The key was to focus on the things we could control…not to get so caught up in the chaos of Siena's defense, which does a good job to disrupt you, and just take care of the basketball. We had to play a little more composed, and just knock down some shots."
  • On defending the Siena posts and Maddie Sims:
    "We knew she is a tough player and we knew our posts would have to do a good job to stop her. They worked hard to limit her comfort level against us, but I think we have to maintain a good effort without fouling."
  • "Jayla's production was awesome and I think she did a really good job for us when some of our players were in foul trouble. You can't ask for anything better than that and I'm really proud our effort."

Sacred Heart will hit the road for their next matchup in a Sunday matinee at New Hampshire. Tipoff is at 1pm and will be broadcast live on unhwildcats.com.