February 11, 2012

Second Half Surge Pushes Pioneers Past Bryant 79-64

Fairfield, Conn.—Gabrielle Washington (Mesa, Ariz.) and Ericka Norman (Chino Hills, Calif.) combined for 38 points in the Pioneers' triumph over Bryant. Sacred Heart put up 51 points shooting 54.5% from the field in the second half to pick up their eleventh conference win and improve to 18-6 on the season.

 The Pioneers started off strong, running out to a 10-5 lead by the 14-minute mark. 

Blair Koniszewski (Vienna, Va.) hit back-to-back-to-back threes to boost the Pioneer lead to 16-8. Kiley Evans (Cazenovia, N.Y.) added a layup to give SHU a solid 10-point lead.

Sacred Heart stalled at 18 points for over six minutes while Bryant worked its way back into the game. After a seven point Bulldog run, Meredith Soper capped it off with trey to tie the game at 18. 

With six minutes left in the half, and the score tied, the Bulldogs turned up the heat by putting 15 points on the board before the buzzer. A late foul sent Norman to the charity stripe to put up three Pioneer points before heading down to the locker room down 33-28.

The Pioneers chipped away at the deficit early in the second half. At the 15:52 mark, Washington landed her first two free throws of the game to knot the game at 40. The rookie would go on to be a perfect 10-for-10 from the charity stripe. She is the first Pioneer to do so since Alisa Apo in the 2009 Northeast Conference Championship.

A minute later, Norman, after stealing the ball from Steph Cardamone, went on a fast break to give Sacred Heart its first lead of the half.

An 17-2 run in the middle of the half allowed the Pioneers to jump out to an uncatchable lead. Morgan Merriman (Seattle, Wa.) kicked off the run with three layups in a row on her way to her fifth double-digit game of the season, finishing the game with 12 points.

After working her way back from an illness, Washington tallied 18 of her 21-point total in the second half. She was one of four Pioneers to finish with double-digits. Norman and Koniszewski, who lead the team's scoring in the first half, finished with 17 and 15 points respectively.

Norman fell just two assists short of the second double double of her career. The sophomore point guard, who leads the league in assists, put eight more in the book today.

The Pioneers and Bulldogs face off once again Wednesday to wrap up NEC Rivalry Week from the Chace Athletic Center at Bryant.