Staten Island, NY - Wagner's Kelly Clark hit a desperation trey from the right corner with .7 seconds remaining in regulation as the Seahawks stole a 66-65 decision over the Sacred Heart women's basketball team Saturday afternoon. The trey was the first of Clark's career and snaps the Pioneers 12 game winning streak against the Seahawks. Kiley Evans (Cazenovia, NY) notched 11 second half points for SHU while Callan Taylor (Overland Park, KS) led the Pioneers with 16 points and nine rebounds.
Wagner (9-9, 2-5 NEC) took an early 4-0 lead as Clark opened the scoring with a layup followed by a pair of free throws from Marie-Laurence Archambault. The Pioneers cut the deficit to 5-4 as Ericka Norman (Chino Hills, CA) scored the first four SHU points. Norman would finish the game with a career high seven assists for SHU. The Seahawks used a 7-0 spurt, capped by a Megan Mahoney trey, to open up a 16-8 cushion.
Sacred Heart (10-8, 4-3 NEC) closed to 18-15 as Maggie Cosgrove (Andover, MA) knocked down a triple followed by an offensive rebound and layup from Taylor on back-to-back possessions. Archambault hit a three of her own to give the momentum back to Wagner. Mahoney and Micaela McDonald each hit shots from beyond the arc to rebuild the Seahawk lead to 28-20 with five minutes remaining in the half.
The Pioneers came charging back over the next four minutes to make it a two point affair at 34-32. Blair Koniszewski (Vienna, VA) and Taylor each knocked down treys during the 14-4 SHU run. Morgan Merriman (Seattle, WA) ended the spurt with a tough layup in traffic for her first basket of the game. The Seahawks would tally the last two buckets off the half, including a Mahoney buzzer beater to take a 38-32 lead into the intermission.
Wagner shot 48 percent (12-25) from the field in the first half, including a blistering 56 percent (5-9) performance from beyond the arc. The Pioneers did force the Seahawks into ten first half turnovers but the home team held a 23-16 rebounding advantage after the opening twenty minutes.
Taylor got the first points of the second half with an easy lay-in setup by a good entry pass from freshman Enjoli Bland (Queen Creek, AZ), who made her first collegiate start. Ashley Olsen answered for Wagner with a conventional three-point play on the next trip up the floor. Bland would answer for SHU with a jump-hook in the lane to make it 43-36. The Seahawks would take their largest lead at 48-38 as Clark completed a three-point play of her own.
The Pioneers rattled off the next seven points as Norman put in a layup followed by five straight from Evans. Alexis Campbell (Ashburn, VA) got two of her six points of the game on a long range jumper to keep SHU close at 54-51. An Olsen layup put the Seahawks up by five but from there Sacred Heart would take over.
Evans stepped in front of a Seahawks inbounds pass and went the length of the floor, drawing an intentional foul. The sophomore hit both free throws and Cosgrove buried a three on the SHU possession to knot the game at 56-56 with 7:30 to play. It was the second time this season that the Pioneers got five points on a single possession.
Sacred Heart took its first lead of the game on a baseline jumper from Taylor at the 6:15 mark. SHU went up 61-56 as Cosgrove put in her third trey of the game with an assist from Taylor. Mahoney ended the 10-0 Pioneer run with a running bank shot to put the Seahawks within three at 61-58. Another baseline jumper from Taylor gave Sacred Heart a five point cushion, 63-58, with 2:20 on the clock.
Archambault answered for Wagner with just over a minute left, making it 63-61, as the forward hit a jump shot while being fouled for a three-point play. Taylor notched her sixth straight point with a shot from the left elbow to give Sacred Heart a two possession lead, 65-61, with 36 seconds remaining in regulation.
The Pioneers held the Seahawks scoreless on the next possession but Norman would miss the front end of a one-and-one for SHU. Mahoney marched down the floor for Wagner, drawing a foul, and hitting two free throws to narrow the Pioneer lead to 65-63 with 13.7 ticks left. Cosgrove also missed the front end of a one-and-one to give the Seahawks the ball with 12.7 seconds on the clock.
Wagner brought the ball up the court but the Pioneer defense pinned the Seahawk center into the right corner with time winding down. Clark had no choice but to hoist a high arcing three in traffic but the center found all net. The dagger left the Pioneers with .7 seconds to respond and their half court heave came up short as the Seahawks came away with the 66-65 triumph.
Sacred Heart finished the game shooting 41 percent (27-46) and held a 37-34 rebounding edge. The Pioneers entered the game as the best free throw shooting team in the Northeast Conference but managed just 50 percent (5-10) against Wagner.
The defeat gives the Pioneers back-to-back losses for just the second time this season. The Pioneers conclude their weekend road trip with a Monday night showdown in Emmitsburg, MD against Mount St. Mary's.