Nikki Johnson Tallies Career-High In Women's Basketball Opener

Nikki Johnson scored a career-high 25 points in her Pioneer debut. (Credit: SHU Athletics)
Nikki Johnson scored a career-high 25 points in her Pioneer debut. (Credit: SHU Athletics)

SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. - The Sacred Heart University women's basketball team opened the 2019-20 season with a 95-69 loss to Big East member, Seton Hall University, on Wednesday night from Walsh Gymnasium. The Pioneers fall to 0-1 on the year, while the Pirates improve to 1-0.

Nikki Johnson led all scorers, in her Pioneers debut, tallying a career-high 25 points (8-17 FG, 3-6 3FG, 6-7 FT) to go along with a career-high five steals, five rebounds and four assists in 33 minutes. She was one of four Pioneers in double-figures for the game. The Pirates were led by Preseason Big East Player of the Year Shadeen Samuels who pumped in 15 points and 14 rebounds while Desiree Elmore netted 20 points and nine rebounds.

The Pioneers return to action on Sunday, when they host Hofstra, presented by Forever Sweet Bakery. The first 100 fans will receive a free cupcake courtesy of Forever Sweet Bakery and, while supplies last, women's basketball schedule posters will be available for fans. IN honor of Veteran's Day, all veteran's and active military receive free tickets on Sunday and their family members get $1.00 tickets. The Pioneers will also unveil their 2019 WNIT banner.

Turning Point

  • Seton Hall scored 11 straight points, in a 4:43 span from the end of the second quarter through the first 3:33 of the third quarter
  • That run expanded the Pirates lead from 15 to 26 and the Pioneers were not able to get closer than 24 the remainder of the game

First Quarter

  • Marie-Laeticia Ziba drained the opening shot of the game, a three, 12 seconds into the game
  • Seton Hall struck for the next seven points, to take a 7-3 lead at the 7:37 mark
  • Jessica Woods scored her first Pioneers points to stop the run, at 7:23
  • The Pirates scored seven-straight, before a basket from Sonia Smith at 4:21, for her first points as a Pioneer
  • Nikki Johnson knocked down a three for the Pioneers at 1:44, making the score 18-11
  • SHU used a 7-4 run over the final 1:58 to close within 22-15 at the break

Second Quarter

  • The Pioneers deficit was back to seven on an Olivia Dabney layup 1:33 into the quarter
  • Woods scored the next six SHU points, part of her eight in the quarter, to keep the deficit 10, 35-25 at the 5:37 mark of the quarter
  • The Pirates outscored the Pioneers 16-7 the remainder of the half, including the final five points, to take a 51-32 halftime lead

Third Quarter

  • Seton Hall opened the half with a 9-0 run over the first 3:12 of the quarter
  • A Smith three at the 6:18 mark momentarily paused the run, but the Pirates scored eight in 60 seconds, to push the advantage to 68-35
  • Johnson converted a conventional three-point play with 3:53 to play in the quarter
  • After a stop on the opposite end, Smith hit a spinning jumper in the paint, for a 5-0 SHU run
  • SHU forced another turnover, and Pirate timeout, ad Allyson Murphy knocked down a second-chance three-pointer with 2:54 to play in the quarter
  • Johnson stole a pass and went the length of the court for a layup, to give SHU a 10-0 run
  • All told, the Pioneers held Seton Hall scoreless, for a period of 4:24 and ended the half with a 12-5 run

Fourth Quarter

  • The Pirates scored nine points in the first 75 seconds of the final quarter, including a pair of three pointers
  • Johnson drained a three-pointer with 6:01 to play to equal her career-high, and surpassed it with a three at the 3:55 mark
  • SHU equaled Seton Hall, 22-22, in the quarter

Newcomer Notes

  • Woods scored a dozen, shooting 6-11 from the floor in 22 minutes of action
  • She also added four rebounds and a blocked shot
  • Smith also reached double figures, scoring 12 on 5-10 shooting
  • Ziba scored five points, and Carly Stroemel scored two points

By The Numbers

  • Johnson shot 8-17, including 3-6 from behind the arc and 6-7 at the free throw line
  • She recorded five rebounds and led the Pioneers with four assists and five steals
  • Seton Hall shot 45.8 percent from the field, including a 9-17 performance during the third quarter
  • SHU finished hitting 26-58, 44.8 percent, from the field and 53.3 percent from behind the arc
  • Olivia Dabney finished with three points and a Pioneer-best six rebounds
  • Desiree Elmore scored 20 for Seton Hall, shooting 6-9 from the field