Fairfield, Conn.—Gabrielle Washington's 21 points help the Sacred Heart women's basketball team broke their losing streak today, defeating Long Island University Brooklyn 74-59.
The teams traded possessions in the first two minutes of the game due to two tough defensive squads. Senior Alexis Campbell (Ashburn, Va.) forced a big turnover that led to Washington (Mesa, Ariz.) putting the first points on the board with a jumper from inside the paint.
Cleandra Roberts scored the first points for the Blackbirds, but Ericka Norman (Chino Hills, Calif.) quickly responded with a layup on the next possession to make it 7-2 Pioneers at the first media time out.
LIU got its first lead of the day just inside the 13-minute mark on a jumper by senior Ashley Palmer. Nine minutes later, Washington reclaimed the lead for Sacred Heart. The rookie knocked down back-to-back treys, but Krystal Wells answered with one of her own to make it 20-18 in favor of the Blackbirds.
Palmer and Merriman added two to their respective team totals before Taylor broke it open landing a shot from outside the arc and kick-starting a 14-3 Pioneer run that had them up 36-27 at the halftime buzzer.
Long Island started to chip away at the nine-point deficit, with Kiara Evans scoring the first points of the half on the Blackbirds' first possession. But Campbell and Norman answered, combining for three points to make the Pioneer lead 10-points.
Both teams put up shots, but the Pioneers maintained the double-digit lead through the first 10 minutes of the half, as they led 55-43 with 10 minutes left to play.
The Pioneers kept their foot on the pedal for the rest of the game, never letting the Blackbirds get closer than eight points. Washington led Sacred Heart scoring in the second half, adding eight points to make the final score 74-59..
Sacred Heart took advantage of LIU's mistakes, scoring 27 points on the Blackbirds' 18 turnovers.
Washington, Norman and Taylor led the Pioneer offense. The trio combined for 49 points in the win.
"It was an overall team effort," said Head Coach Ed Swanson. "We went out and played hard with a lot of energy and picked up a big win."
The Pioneers play again on Monday when they host the Red Flash from Saint Francis (PA), who was picked to finish No. 1 in the conference in the Preseason Coaches' Poll.