Fairfield, Conn.—Gabrielle Washington's 15 points helps Sacred Heart's pick up the win over Columbia in the 2011-12 home opener. The Pioneers outscored the Lions 60-42 to increase their record to 2-0 on the season.
Three Pioneers reached double digit points in the win. Washington (Mesa, Ariz.) and Callan Taylor (Overland Park, Kan.) lit up the board with 15 marks each, while Ericka Norman (Chino Hills, Cal.) notched twelve.
Eight seconds after tip-off, Washington got the ball from Norman and knocked down a three-pointer to jump-start the game. Less than a minute later, Columbia's Brittany Simmons would steal the ball and put it in the net decreasing Sacred Heart's lead to 3-2.
With 14 minutes left in the first half, the Pioneers were up 15-11, but Columbia would quickly close the gap. A layup by Amara Mbionwu and a jumper by Courtney Bradford tied the game at 15. Two minutes later, Tyler Simpson would layup two more points to give the Lions a two point lead, their only lead of the game. It would be short-lived as Taylor put the Pioneers ahead 17-15 with a layup to set Sacred Heart on a 17-point run that would feature six points by Norman (2 foul shots and two layups), a trey by Taylor and eight points by Washington (2 free throws and two three-pointers). After a three-pointer by Simmons, Sacred Heart went into halftime leading the Lions 34-20.
The second half saw more even play between the two teams with Sacred Heart only outscoring the Lions by four in the period. The Pioneer bench would record most of the SHU points in the half. Sophomore Blair Koniszewski (Vienna, VA) knocked down consecutive threes just inside the nine minute mark giving Sacred Heart a 19 point lead, their largest of the game. Morgan Merriman (Seattle, WA.) would also post six points on the board.
The Pioneers pushed hard on defense, forcing Columbia to commit 23 turnovers. Sacred Heart would capitalize on Lion mistakes by converting turnovers into 24 points.
Sacred Heart takes the court again at home on Wednesday against Lehigh at 7:00 p.m.