HAMDEN, CT (January 12, 2013) – Sacred Heart got 13 points from senior Morgan Merriman (Seattle, WA) and a career-high 12 rebounds from junior Enjoli Bland (Queen Creek, AZ) but turned it over a season-high 28 times en route to a 74-45 loss at Quinnipiac Saturday afternoon. The Bobcats got a double double from sophomore Brittany McQuain on 21 points and 10 rebounds as they move to 3-0 in Northeast Conference play. SHU falls to 9-6 overall and 1-2 in the NEC.
The Pioneers (9-6, 1-2 NEC) got off to a fast start and led 5-0 and 7-2 in the game's first two minutes of action as Merriman hit a jumper on the wing and Norman followed with a steal and lay-in off the inbounds. SHU opened the game four-of-eight from the field but finished the first half making just five of their next 22 shots including one-of-eight from three.
The Bobcats (12-2, 3-0 NEC) went to their inside game and sophomore Brittany McQuain delivered, scoring seven-straight points to put Quinnipiac in front 16-13 at the 11:41 mark. SHU pulled within 16-15 on a Kiley Evans (Cazenovia, NY) jumper in the lane at 11 minute mark but from there it was all Quinnipiac. Back-to-back three's by Gillian Abshire and Felicia Barron fueled a 9-0 spurt that forced SHU head coach to use a time-out at 7:34 down 25-15. SHU's Bland briefly halted the run with a put-back at the 7:13 mark, providing the only Pioneer points until one minute left in the half.
The Bobcats built their run to 19-2 over the next six minutes McQuain hit a jumper for 11 first half points and Jasmine Martin connected twice to give QU a 35-17 lead. The Pioneer drought finally ended when junior guard Blair Koniszewski (Vienna, VA) hit a three on the break, got fouled and buried the free throw for the rare 4-point play, cutting lead to 35-21 with one minute to play.
SHU tried to make a run to open the second half but Quinnipiac had an answer each time. Merriman opened the half with consecutive buckets on Sacred Heart's first two possessions but QU answered each make. A Koniszewski three cut the lead to 41-28 but McQuain provided back-to-back makes inside to keep SHU at bay.
The Pioneers could only cut the lead down to 12, trailing 45-33 with 14:31 left. Again the Bobcats answered and a three by Martin squashed the threat. QU never let the lead fall below 14 the rest of the way and built their advantage to 63-43 with 6:37 left on their way to a 29-point win.
McQuain and fellow Bobcats Baron and Martin all found double digits. Baron finished with 13 while Martin had 14 with four rebounds and four assists.
SHU shot just 31.7 percent (19-60) in the loss while their 28 turnovers led to 26 QU points at the other end. Evans joined Merriman in double figures with 10 points on the afternoon. The Pioneers did hold the edge on the glass, 43-41.
SHU will stay in state and head to Central Connecticut Monday night for a NEC match-up. Tip-off is at 7:00 pm.