The Storyline... The Sacred Heart women's basketball team plays its first Northeast Conference road game of the season Friday night against Fairleigh Dickinson. The Pioneers have won five of their last six, including a 70-52 decision over NEC opponent Wagner last time out. Friday's contest will also offer SHU head coach Ed Swanson his first opportunity to pick up career win number 350. Sacred Heart is 2-2 on the road in 2010-11 but has won the last their last two contests away from the Pitt Center, tallying victories over Yale and Harvard. Fairleigh Dickinson comes into the meeting with the Pioneers having won six in a row and are now 5-1 at home this season. The Knights will send one of the top defenses in the NCAA against a Pioneer offense that has been clicking as of late.
Series... The Pioneers own an impressive 18-1 all-time record versus Fairleigh Dickinson. Sacred Heart has won 14 straight meetings against the Knights, last falling to FDU back on January 31, 2000. SHU is 8-1 in Teaneck, NJ and won both of last year's tilts with the Knights by double digits.
Scouting the Knights... Fairleigh Dickinson ranks tenth in the NCAA in field goal percentage against, holding opponents to a 32 percent shooting mark. The Knights are also allowing an anemic 21 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Mariayh Laury paces the FDU attack, and ranks second in the conference in scoring, with 15.9 points per game this season. Esther Wallace is the biggest Knight force on the glass averaging 6.8 rebounds per game.
Five of a Kind... Five Pioneers scored 11 points as SHU put on its most balanced scoring display of the year in a win over Wagner. Callan Taylor recorded a double-double with ten rebounds along with her 11 points. The mark was a career best for freshmen Ericka Norman and Blair Konsizewski. Senior Maggie Cosgrove and sophomore Kiley Evans rounded out the quintet of Pioneers with 11 points.
Taylor Reaches 1,000 Points... Callan Taylor dropped in 21 points against St. Bonaventure to become the 15th player in Sacred Heart history to reach the 1,000 point plateau in a career. The Kansas native is also the third fastest to reach the milestone, averaging 13.6 points in her first 74 games in a SHU uniform.
Swanson Approaches 350... After picking up a victory over Wagner, Sacred Heart head coach Ed Swanson will have his first opportunity to earn career win number 350 against FDU. Swanson has spent his entire 21 year coaching career at his alma mater and is by far the winningest coach in program history. During his 11 years in the league Swanson has become the all-time leader in Northeast Conference victories with 152.
Apo Lost For the Year... Former NEC player of the year Alisa Apo will miss the remainder of the 2010-11 season after suffering an ACL tear against Harvard. The Freehold, NJ native will go down as one of the best players in program history. Apo recorded the third most points in SHU history (1,550), has the second highest assist total (386), and led the Pioneers to a perfect 2008-09 conference season as well as a berth in the NCAA tournament.
The Coaches... Ed Swanson (SHU '89) is in his 21st season as head coach at his alma mater. Swanson posts a 349-237 record in his career at Sacred Heart. His teams have a 222-118 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 (349). He has been named the NEC Coach of the Year three times and is the all-time leader in regular season NEC wins (152). Peter Cinella (Western New England '90) enters his fourth year at the helm of the Fairleigh Dickinson women's basketball program. Cinella is a 2009 inductee into the New England Basketball Hall of Under his guidance, AIC earned nine NCAA Tournament berths, including two appearances in the Elite Eight and one trip to the NCAA Championship game (2006).