Lynchburg, Va. (November 16, 2012)—The Sacred Heart Women's Basketball Team pulled out a nail-biting 66-62 win on Friday evening against Sam Houston State. Gabrielle Washington (Mesa, Ariz.) scored 12 of the last 15 points to bring the Pioneers back from a 58-55 deficit late for the win.
The first half saw a lot of back and forth action between the Pioneers and the Bearkats. Sam Houston's Angela Beadle scored the first two points of the game, as the Bearkats held Sacred Heart scoreless in the first couple minutes of the game. Kiley Evans (Cazenovia, N.Y.), en route to 17 points, hit a jumper to put the Pioneers on the board. Washington, after nabbing the rebound, hit a triple to give Sacred Heart their first lead of the game.
Down 5-9, Alissa Tarsi (Clinton, N.J.) closed the gap with her first collegiate points, but the Bearkats responded with five more points to go up 14-10. Evans and Washington, once again, teamed up, combining for five points to take back the lead 15-14. The teams exchanged points before Sacred Heart's six-point run, highlighted by back-to-back buckets from Morgan Merriman (Seattle, Wa.), for a 21-16 lead.
Sam Houston worked their way back to a one-point lead 31-30, but Evans's jumper gave the Pioneers the lead they would carry through halftime, heading into the locker room up 34-33.
Merriman, on her way to a career-high 18-point game, posted the first eight points of the second half for Sacred Heart, increasing their lead to 42-35, but Bearkats battled back overcoming their biggest deficit of the game, taking back the lead on a pair of free throws by Beadle.
Down 55-52 with 5:36 left in the game Sacred Heart knew they had to turn on the heat offensively. Washington took care of that landing the next five Pioneer shots, including a pair of free throws that gave Sacred Heart back the lead.
It was short-lived as Sam Houston's Britni Martin, with just over a minute left, laid on in for a one-point lead, but Merriman answered with the game-winning shot to lift the Pioneers at the one-minute mark.
Ericka Norman (Chino Hills, Calif.) set a career-high with 13 assists, which is also the new record at the Vines Center.
Tomorrow, Sacred Heart will take on the winner of the Liberty/Grambling State game. The time is still to be determined, as host school-Liberty is guaranteed the 7:00 p.m. game win or lose.