New Haven, CT - A pair of Kiley Evans (Cazenovia, NY) free throws with four seconds left made it a four point game to ice the Pioneers 70-69 win Wednesday night on the road against Yale. Evans finished the game with a double-double, notching 14 points and ten rebounds. Junior Callan Taylor (Overland Park, KS) led SHU with 20 points while Alisa Apo (Freehold, NJ) posted 17. Apo reached the 1,500 point plateau with a layup 7:22 into the game, the senior captain now stands at 1,513 career points.
Sacred Heart (4-4) got its first bucket of the game on a Callan Taylor jumper at the 18:13 mark to knot the game at 2-2. SHU got its first lead of the day, 10-8, three minutes later as the press created a turnover and an easy lay-in for Apo. The Pioneers used a 12-2 surge capped by another Taylor jump shot to pull ahead 22-17 with 10:06 to play in the half.
Yale (1-7) battled back into the game and used a 6-0 spurt to grab a 29-26 advantage. The last basket came on a turnover via the press and a layup for Allie Messimer. Michelle Cashen then made a strong move into the lane to push the lead to 29-26, Bulldogs. Mady Gobrecht finished the first half with 13 of her total 18 points to lead Yale.
Pioneer foul trouble late in the first half allowed SHU freshman Elise Lorenz (Santa Margarita, CA) to enter the action. In her first possession the 6-3 center scored her first collegiate points on a layup to bring Sacred Heart within five at 35-30. The Bulldogs took a 37-31 lead into the intermission shooting 46 percent (15-33) from the floor. The Pioneers posted a 39 percent shooting percentage in the opening half but were held without a three-point field goal.
Sacred Heart stormed out of the locker room and notched the first four points of the second half. The last two came on a fast break reverse layup by Evans that was set up by an Apo bounce pass through traffic. Aarica West stopped the early bleeding for Yale by draining a shot from beyond the arc. The Pioneers rushed the ball up the floor and Taylor responded by burying a trey of her own.
The Pioneers broke a 49-49 tie after a media timeout thanks to an Apo three. Two possessions later Apo struck from long range again to give SHU a 57-51 advantage. Ericka Norman (Chino Hills, CA) then tallied two of her four points with a one-on-one move at the top of the key that left her defender on the ground. Yale would again respond and pulled to within one after forcing a SHU shot clock violation and hitting a three off the hand of Ericka von Kaeppler.
"I think we showed great maturity by coming back from a six point deficit at halftime," said Apo after the game.
Taylor put together five quick points down the stretch to push the Pioneer cushion to 68-62 with just over two minutes to play. Solid free throw shooting and a couple of questionable calls allowed the Bulldogs to close within two at 68-66. Another Yale stop gave the home team the ball with a chance to tie with 14.7 seconds remaining in regulation.
Apo came up huge again for the Pioneers with six seconds on the clock by stepping into a passing lane to secure one of her three steals of the night. Two quick Yale fouls put Evans at the free throw line but the sophomore polished off a 6-for-6 performance at the charity stripe to secure the win. Bulldog freshman Megan Vasquez hit a three at the buzzer to bring the game to its 70-69 final.
"We didn't play great defense all night but we dug in when we had to and we put the ball in the basket. Overall, it was a good win for us on the road," commented Apo.
The Pioneers have now won nine consecutive meetings with Yale and move to 11-3 in the all-time series. Sacred Heart shot 50 percent (15-30) in the second half and finished the night at 44 percent overall, including a 29 percent clip from three. Yale recorded a 41 percent shooting percentage, 22 percent from beyond the arc, and made 15-for-20 at the free throw line. SHU made seven of its eight total free throws including a perfect 4-for-4 mark in the second half.
The SHU women's basketball team returns to action at home this Sunday for a 2:00 pm contest against the Siena Saints.