Women’s Basketball Completes Second Straight Second Half Comeback, Toppling Wagner 79-65

Women’s Basketball Completes Second Straight Second Half Comeback, Toppling Wagner 79-65

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – It was déjà vu all over again for the Sacred Heart women's basketball team as the Pioneers overcame another sizeable second half deficit to defeat Wagner, 79-65, on Saturday from the Spiro Sports Center. SHU (5-8, 2-0 NEC) wins two straight for the first time this season, opening conference play with a 2-0 record while Wagner continues to struggle as the Seahawks (4-9, 0-2 NEC) lose their sixth straight.

Just two days removed from overcoming an eight-point fourth quarter deficit to defeat Merrimack, the Pioneers' largest fourth quarter deficit overcome since 2016, SHU took control late once again. The Pioneer offense was stagnating, staring at a 10-point third quarter deficit before SHU surged past Wagner, outscoring the Seahawks 30-12 in the fourth quarter to record a convincing 14-point win. This is the 12th straight win for SHU over Wagner as well as the first true road win on the season for the Pioneers.

With the Pioneers continuing to play shorthanded having just eight healthy players at the ready for today's tip, SHU received a bevy of stellar contributions up-and-down the lineup as five of the eight Pioneers who saw the court today netted double figure point totals. In addition, SHU scored a season-high 79 points, eclipsing the previous-best of 77 on Nov. 20 against Bridgeport, as today's effort was just the third time the Pioneers have scored 70+ in a game this season (3-0 record in those three contests).

Since the start of conference play in 2020, Olivia Dabney has given the Pioneers quality play on both ends of the floor as she tallied a marvelous 17 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and four blocks while playing all 40 minutes for the third time in her career. Over the last two games, Dabney has put up a career-high 17 points in both while her five assists also match a career-high and her 11 rebounds and four blocks are both one off career-bests for the junior guard. Prior to the Merrimack game on Thursday, Dabney had never recorded double digit rebounds in a game and suddenly she has two straight double-doubles in a 2-0 week for SHU.

Sonia Smith teamed up with Dabney to create a solid one-two punch for the Pioneers as the first-year Smith recorded a season-high 16 points to go along with six assists, two blocks and three rebounds in 35 minutes. For Smith, she now has matched or scored a season-high in points and assists in two straight games while her two blocks and 35 minutes are season-highs.

Three other Pioneers reached double figures including Jayla Davis (16), Adrianne Hagood (15) and Allyson Murphy (10). Davis' 16 points is a season-high while the junior has scored double figures in three straight. Hagood also hits double figures for the third straight game and ninth time in 12 games played this season. Murphy came off the bench for the second time in 2019-20, scoring 10 points which represents her highest point total since the season opener at Seton Hall back on Nov. 6. Carly Stroemel also played a key role in the victory, recording five points, 10 rebounds and a season-high three blocks as she recorded double digit rebounds for the first time in her career.

1st Quarter (16-12 SHU)

  • A back-and-forth opening quarter saw the Seahawks take an early 8-0 advantage, as SHU missed their first four shots and committed two turnovers in the opening three-plus minutes
  • Despite the early struggles, the Pioneers managed to recover and outscore Wagner 16-4 in the remaining 6:40 minutes of the first to claim the lead
  • The first 12 points from the Pioneers came from five different Pioneers as the game was tied at 12-12 after Carly Stroemel hit 1-of-2 free throws
  • Four more free throw makes from the Pioneers were the difference in the 16-12 scoreline as SHU grabbed a huge +8 (15-7) rebounding advantage in the first quarter despite committing seven turnovers

2nd Quarter (31-27 WAG)

  • Wagner put together a nice bounce-back period but not before SHU went ahead by seven as Smith hit a driving layup to open the frame and followed with a triple at the wing to make it 21-14 SHU
  • The SHU lead remained at seven points with Dabney's three-pointer but the Seahawks went on to outscore the Pioneers 14-3, including a 10-0 run to end the first half
  • Turnovers continued to plague the Pioneers in the second quarter as six more turnovers led to a 7-2 advantage for Wagner in points off turnovers

3rd Quarter (53-49 WAG)

  • With the Pioneers' leading scorer Hagood nursing an injury on the bench to start the second half, Wagner took advantage in seizing a 10-point lead with 2:42 remaining in the quarter, their largest lead of the game
  • When Hagood subbed back in, she made an immediate impact with a pair of free throws and later a three-pointer from the wing that cut the margin back down to 48-46
  • That vital 8-0 SHU run helped lower the gap from 10 points down to four at the end of the quarter with the Seahawks leading 53-49
  • Both teams scored 22 points in the quarter as SHU shot 8-of-13 (61.5 percent) from the floor and 3-for-6 from three-point range

4th Quarter (79-65 SHU)

  • A gritty effort to end the third quarter continued into the fourth as SHU erased what was a five-point Wagner lead and made it a tied ballgame at 54-54 with Davis converting a runner from just outside the paint
  • With the pressure mounting on the home team, Smith spotted Hagood open underneath behind the Wagner zone as SHU took the lead for the first time in the second half with 8:13 remaining
  • SHU's fourth quarter domination saw the Seahawks make just one basket over the final 5:56 of play as Davis converted two straight layups to build the Pioneer lead back up to seven points
  • The ultimate dagger came with 2:23 remaining as Stroemel missed a layup in the paint but secured her own miss and converted a second chance to make it 67-58 SHU
  • Free throws came aplenty down the stretch as SHU went 12-for-14 over the final two minutes from the line to ice away the victory

NOTES

  • SHU was dominant in the fourth quarter, outscoring Wagner 30-12 (+18) and even more dominant when extending into the end of the third quarter as the Pioneers outscored the Seahawks 41-17 (+24) after going down by 10
  • For the season, SHU has outscored opponents 244-202 (+42) in the fourth quarter of their 13 games in 2019-20, easily the highest margin for SHU in any quarter
  • In the second half today, the Pioneers shot 60 percent (15-for-25) from the floor, 50 percent (5-for-10) from the three-point line and 85 percent (17-for-20) at the free throw line while the team dished out 11 assists against 10 turnovers
  • The Pioneers matched their season-high with 10 three-pointers, a feat the team has accomplished four times through 13 games
  • SHU grabbed 43 rebounds, winning the rebounding battle for the second straight game
  • Prior to the Merrimack win, SHU had recorded 40+ rebounds just once in the first 11 games of the season and now the team has rebounding totals of 46 (vs Merrimack) and 43 (at Wagner)
  • SHU tied a season-high with 16 assists and set a new season-high with 10 blocks as four different players recorded at least one block, led by Dabney's four and Stroemel's three
  • The Pioneers went 23-for-29 (79.3 percent) as a team from the free throw line, setting a season-high for makes and finishing just one off a season-high in attempts
  • SHU's 44.2 field goal percentage is the team's third-highest single-game number and is the best the Pioneers have shot in a game since a 71-44 win over Hofstra back on Nov. 10
  • Since the start of the 2018-19 season, SHU has gone 14-0 in games the Pioneers have scored 70+ points (11-0 in 2018-19, 3-0 in 2019-20)
  • In those 14 games wherein SHU scores 70+ points, the Pioneers have outscored opponents by a margin of 269 (+19.2) per game

NEXT GAME

SHU returns home for a rare Wednesday NEC game as the Pioneers welcome in-state conference foe CCSU for a 1:00 PM tip from Coach Bike Court.