Take 3: Pioneers Face Robert Morris for Third Time This Year in NEC Tournament Semifinal on Tuesday
The Storyline... The Pioneers took both regular season games against the Colonials, but to say they were battles would be an understatement. In January, Sacred Heart had to overcome an 18-point deficit, their second largest of the year. And in last week's matchup, it took an overtime period before a winner was declared. Robert Morris, coming in with the momentum of a 59-point second half against Saint Francis (PA) in the semifinal round, is trying to stop the sweep and earn their spot in the 2012 Northeast Conference Championship.
The Series...Both of the times these teams have met in the NEC Tournament, Robert Morris has come out on top. They were both close games with the Pioneers falling 68-62 in overtime in the 2005 semifinal round and 68-66 in the 2007 Championship game. The Pioneers lead the all-time series 16-7 after winning in overtime last week in the final game of the regular season. Sacred Heart has won five of the last six games against the Colonials. The last time Robert Morris won was February 18, 2010 at home in the Charles L. Sewall Center.
Scouting the Colonials... Robert Morris turned on the offense in the semifinal win over Saint Francis (PA), scoring 59 points in the second half to squeeze out the 92-82 vitory. Four Colonials were in double-digits, including Artemis Spanou and Briannica Tye's 20-plus point performances. Spanou leads the way, averaging a double-double with 17.3 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. The sophomore picked up her twentieth double-double of the season in Saturday's win, putting 25 points up while pulling down 14 boards.
Knocking Down the Shot... In Saturday's semifinal matchup against Fairleigh Dickinson, five Pioneers shot 50% or better from the field. Senior Callan Taylor knocked down eight of her 16 shots for a game-leading 16 points. Morgan Merriman came in off the bench to add 12 points to Sacred Heart's total, landed six-of-twelve shots. Alexis Campbell shot 60% (3-5) including being a perfect two-for-two from outside the arc for her first two triples of the season. Enjoli Bland made both of her shots (2-2), while Ericka Norman was one-for-two.
Tough Matchup...The Pioneers picked up wins both times they faced Robert Morris this season. Both games Sacred Heart had to battle back to claim victory. Back in January, the Pioneers were down by 18 points with 18:13 left to play. Thanks in large part to Callan Taylor's season high-31 point game and Blair Koniszewski's career high 18-point performance, the Pioneers climbed out of the whole to protect their then perfect NEC record. Most recently, in the final game of the regular season, the teams fought for every point, exchanging the lead throughout the game. With just one second left on the clock, the Colonials were up by three, but Gabby Washington landed a triple from the right wing at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. The Pioneers came out with the win clinching the regular season NEC title. SHU and RMU have faced each other twice in the NEC Tournament before. Both times, the Colonials have knocked out the Pioneers in close games