The Storyline... The Sacred Heart women's basketball team welcomes instate rival Central Connecticut State to the Pitt Center for a Monday night Northeast Conference showdown. The Pioneers have won seven-of-nine and knocked off Bryant 54-44 Saturday afternoon. Callan Taylor had a monumental 26 points and 16 rebounds against the Bulldogs to lead the Pioneers to a victory. SHU is 6-2 at home this season, including a perfect 3-0 mark against league opponents in the Pitt Center. Central Connecticut State looks to rebound from a 76-75 loss at the hands of Nutmeg State NEC member Quinnipiac.
Series... The Pioneers own a 23-10 all-time record against the Blue Devils. SHU is 12-4 in its history at home against CCSU and 19-4 in the Pioneers' division I era. However, Central Connecticut State took two of three meetings with the Pioneers last season including a 63-51 victory to eliminate SHU in the quarterfinal round of the 2010 NEC tournament. Before the Blue Devils 67-64 win in the Pitt Center last year Sacred Heart had won ten straight games versus CCSU in Fairfield, CT.
Taylor Rebounds and Explodes... After being held scoreless for the first time in her career as a starter against Monmouth junior Callan Taylor was dominant in the Pioneers next outing at home versus Bryant. Taylor erupted for season highs of 26 points and 16 rebounds to carry the Pioneers past the Bulldogs. The six-foot forward is averaging 14.6 points and 11.0 rebounds per game against NEC opposition. Taylor also ranks first in the league, and among the national leaders, shooting 93.3 percent (42-45) from the free throw line.
Comeback "Of the Year"... For the first time since January of 2010 the Pioneers triumphed after trailing with 10:00 to play. SHU overcame a five point Bryant lead at the intermission en route to a 54-44 victory last time out. The last Sacred Heart comeback victory had come against Central Connecticut State last season. In that game the Blue Devils led by one at the half and by six with 11:06 to play.
The Turnover Battle... Sacred Heart has featured a relentless defense in 2010-11, forcing at least 20 turnovers eight times this season. The Pioneers have forced NEC opponents to make an average of 22 miscues per game. Central Connecticut State enters Monday's matchup turning the ball over 21.5 times per game. SHU ranks first in the Northeast Conference in turnover margin, holding a +2.12 advantage in the turnover battle this year.
Taking Charity... Sacred Heart is the top free throw shooting team in the league, hitting at a 71.5 (183-256) percent clip. In the Pioneers last game they went 18-for-21 at the charity stripe, including a perfect six-of-six down in the final minute to seal a victory over Bryant. Callan Taylor and Kiley Evans each rank in the top ten individually at the free throw line.
Beating the Percentages... The Pioneers defeated Bryant despite shooting under 30 percent from the field, (15-54, 27.8%). Heading into the game SHU had not won a game shooting below 40 percent. The last time Sacred Heart had won a game shooting under 30 percent came January 28, 2010 in a 51-47 win at Mount St. Mary's.
Protect the Pitt... The Pioneers are 6-2 at home this season, 3-0 against NEC opposition. Since the William H. Pitt Center opened in 1997 SHU has won 82 percent (153-34) of their games at home. Since the 2003-04 campaign Sacred Heart is 62-6 in the Pitt Center against Northeast Conference opposition, including a pair of NEC Championship game triumphs.
Post Game Interview vs. Bryant