Women's Basketball Heads To Yale For Wednesday Night Showdown
The Storyline... The Sacred Heart women's basketball team makes the short trip to New Haven, CT for a Wednesday night clash with the Yale Bulldogs. The Pioneers will look to rebound after a tough outing against Connecticut, the top ranked team in the nation. In the first seven games of the 2010-11 campaign Sacred Heart has faced opponents from the SEC, ACC, and Big East. The tough non-conference schedule will prepare SHU for its Northeast Conference slate, which opens up December 20 at home versus Mount St. Mary's. Yale enters the contest in the midst of a six game losing skid after winning its season opener over Holy Cross. The Bulldogs have since dropped decisions to Boston University, Columbia, California, UC-Davis, Providence, and Fairleigh Dickinson.
Series... The Pioneers own a 10-3 all-time record against the instate rival Bulldogs. Sacred Heart has won nine straight over Yale with the last loss to the Bulldogs dating back to November 25, 1979. SHU holds a 4-2 record on the campus of Yale while notching a 6-1 mark in the Pitt Center. The two teams met last season in a 76-67 Sacred Heart victory as Alisa Apo exploded for 26 points.
Scouting the Bulldogs... Sophomore Megan Vasquez paces the Yale offense with 12.6 points per game in 2010-11. Senior Mady Gobrecht leads the team on the glass with 5.4 rebounds per game while averaging ten points per contest. Yale is averaging just over 60 points per game and is shooting 35 percent from the floor this season. The Bulldogs take their chances from beyond the arc, taking over 21 three-point shots per game. Yale finished the 2009-10 season with a 13-15 overall record and finished fourth in the Ivy league with an 8-6 mark.
SHU Against the Ivy League... The Pioneers are 22-15 (.595) all-time against opponents who currently reside in the Ivy League. Sacred Heart's best head-to-head record in the Ivy League comes against Pricneton with SHU owning a perfect 4-0 mark versus the Tigers. The Pioneers will play Harvard later this season as SHU trails that all-time series 1-2.
Taylor Paces Pioneers... Junior Callan Taylor has averaged 14.7 points per game through the Pioneers first seven contests of 2010-11. She leads SHU in scoring having reached double digits in every game. Taylor was the lone bright spot for SHU by tallying 11 points against the two-time defending national champion UConn Huskies. Taylor also is Sacred Heart's top rebounder at 6.7 boards per game. In the Pioneers trip to the Bahamas she was named to the 2010 Junkanoo Jam all-tournament team, averaging 12.5 points against Auburn and Boston College.
Spreading the Minutes... The Pioneers are putting trust in the bench this season with seven players averaging at least 15 minutes per game in 2010-11. Freshman Ericka Norman is averaging 15.1 minutes and has made her first two collegiate starts. Sophomore Morgan Merriman has started four games this season, after making two in her freshman year, and is averaging 6.4 points per game.
Tropical Paradise... The Pioneers traveled to the Bahamas for the 2010 Junkanoo Jam, finishing in second place. In the semifinals Sacred Heart knocked off Auburn of the SEC 65-53. The Pioneers led by as many as 30 points and picked up the program's first win over a team from one of the major conferences. Four Pioneers scored in double figures in the victory, led by Alisa Apo's 15 point and six rebound performance. Callan Taylor was named to the all-tournament team, averaging 12.5 points and seven rebounds per game in the event.
Apo Reaching Milestones... Senior captain Alisa Apo is four points shy of reaching 1,500 for her career. She sits fourth on the all-time scoring list, next in Apo's sights is former teammate Kaitlin Sowinski, who stands at 1,541 points. The duo combined in 2008-09 to help lead the Pioneers to a NEC championship. Apo also currently stands at 372 assists for her career, ranking second in SHU history. In her six assist performance against Saint Peter's she passed Elaine Agosti for second all-time in SHU history. Apo needs just 23 more assists in 2010-11 to have the most assists in Pioneer history, a mark currently held by Kerri Burke's 394 assists.
The Future 1,000 Point Trio?... It is entirely possibly that later this season the Pioneers will have three 1,000 point scorers on the roster. Alisa Apo is well above the 1,000 point plateau, which she reached in her junior season. Senior Maggie Cosgrove stands at 826 career points. The SHU guard is averaging around seven points per game this season, at that pace she would reach the 1,000 point mark in the Pioneers quarterfinal game of the Northeast Conference tournament. Junior Callan Taylor sits at 914 points and could reach 1,000, at her current 15 point per game pace, at home December 28 against St. Bonaventure.
The Coaches... Ed Swanson (SHU '89) is in his 21st season as head coach at his alma mater. Swanson posts a 344-236 record in his career at Sacred Heart. His teams have a 218-117 record since joining the Division I ranks in 1999-00. Swanson was inducted in to the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009 and is the program's longest tenured coach and all-time leader in coaching wins (344). He has been named the NEC Coach of the Year three times and is the all-time leader in regular season NEC wins (150). Chris Gobrecht (Southern California '77) enters her 6th season at the helm of the Yale women's basketball program. Last year she reached a milestone 450th career coaching victory. Gobrecht currently stands at 460 career wins. In 2008-09 Gobrecht directed Yale to its first triumph over an ACC opponent, knocking off North Carolina State.