LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Playing under the bright lights on the Vegas strip, the Sacred Heart women's basketball team opened the South Point Shootout with a 66-60 victory in the Pioneers' first-ever meeting against Detroit Mercy on Friday afternoon from the South Point Arena. The Pioneers win their first game away from home this season, improving to 3-3 overall while the Titans remain winless at 0-7.
Coming into this one with an 0-3 record playing away from the Pitt Center, the Pioneers broke the trend behind a sensational three-point shooting game wherein SHU finished 10-for-22 (45.5 percent) from behind the line on their way to the six-point victory. The 10 makes from three is a season-high and the most for the Pioneers in 10 games dating back to the 2018-19 season.
SHU also capitalized on their free throws, going 18-for-22 (81.8 percent) at the line. This is the highest single-game free throw percentage with at least 10 makes for the Pioneers since going 18-for-20 against Saint Joseph's last season on Dec. 20, 2018 (32 games ago).
Adrianne Hagood continues to lead the attack on the offensive end for SHU as she tallied 21 points on 6-for-12 shooting, 4-of-7 from three and a perfect 5-for-5 at the line. The junior guard also picked up two steals and played turnover-free basketball in her 27 minutes of action. Nikki Johnson piled up the stat sheet with 15 points (6-10 FG, 3-7 3FG), five rebounds and five assists in a game-high 38 minutes. Johnson now has at least five assists in three straight games while the 38 minutes played is a career-high for the junior transfer.
1st Quarter (19-9 SHU)
- In a game the Pioneers led wire-to-wire, SHU jumping out to a 12-2 lead less than four minutes into play proved vital in today's outcome
- Johnson got things going with the first six points of the day for SHU, both of which coming on three-point makes assisted by Allyson Murphy
- After four straight free throw makes, the Pioneers extended their lead to 10 on a Jessica Woods layup that made it 12-2 SHU and forced a Detroit Mercy timeout
- The timeout came at a good time for the Titans as they cut the lead in half less than a minute following the timeout
- In the final minute, with SHU still leading by five, a pair of makes on consecutive trips built up the Pioneer advantage back to double digits as Hagood canned a triple and Johnson followed with a clean drive to the rim that made it 19-9 SHU after one
2nd Quarter (34-27 SHU)
- Detroit Mercy started the quarter on a 7-1 run that cut the SHU lead down to four but a huge answer came in the form of a 8-0 run for the Pioneers highlighted by three-pointers from Sonia Smith and Olivia Dabney
- Dabney made another key three-pointer with 1:45 left in the half, extending the Pioneer lead back up to eight points, helping give SHU a comfortable 34-27 hafltime lead
3rd Quarter (43-39 SHU)
- Just as she had done throughout the first half, the second half started with a Hagood make from long range that set the tone for the frame
- SHU continued to lead by as many as 10 throughout the majority of the quarter but a late 6-0 Titans run made it just a four-point game heading into the fourth
4th Quarter (66-60 SHU)
- Six straight Hagood points pushed the margin back up to double digits in favor of the Pioneers and Hagood again followed later with a triple and a driving layup as she scored the first 11 straight points of the quarter for SHU
- Johnson followed the Hagood surge with consecutive makes of her own that build the SHU lead up to 16 points, the largest of the day for the Pioneers
- Even with all the momentum on their side, the Pioneers saw the Titans make a late-game push that cut the SHU lead that once was 16 all the way down to five with 25 seconds remaining
- But Hagood was there with the response for SHU as a pair of makes from the free throw line iced away the game late for the Pioneers
- Hagood scored 13 of her game-high 21 points in the fourth quarter alone
- Coming into this season with four career 20+ point games, Hagood already has three 20+ point efforts in her five games played in 2019-20
- Hagood is averaging a team-leading 18.8 points per game while shooting over 50 percent both from the floor (51.8 FG%) and from three (53.1 3FG%)
- Johnson hit double figures for the first time since totaling 19 against Hofstra on Nov. 10 (three games ago)
- Johnson leads the team in assists and steals while ranking second in scoring and third in rebounds
- Dabney put up a solid eight points on 2-of-5 shooting from three to go along with a team-leading seven rebounds
- Woods saw her school record streak of five straight double-digit point totals to start her SHU career end with today's four-point total
- Carly Stroemel came off the bench and played 10 key minutes, including several down the stretch, on her way to two points, two rebounds and two blocks
The Pioneers finish off their stay in Vegas with Saturday night's tussle with Nebraska set for 6:30 PM (EST). This is the Pioneers' first-ever meeting against the Cornhuskers and just the fourth Big Ten opponent that SHU has ever faced.