January 19, 2013

Pioneer Defense Clamps Down for 71-50 Win at Saint Francis U

LORETTO, PA (January  19, 2013) – Sacred Heart junior guard Ericka Norman (Chino Hills, CA) flirted with a quadruple double Saturday afternoon, scoring 16 points with nine assists, eight rebounds and seven steals to lead the Pioneers to a 71-50 win at Saint Francis U.  Norman was one of five Pioneers in double figures as SHU deals the Red Flash their first Northeast Conference loss of the season.

The Pioneers (10-7, 2-3 NEC) led from the opening tip to the final buzzer on Saturday, with Norman setting the defensive tone early with a pair of steals and transition lay-ins.  SHU ran out to a 12-2 lead with Norman scoring eight of the Pioneers first points, forcing a SFU time-out at 15:18.  Sacred Heart extended their opening run to 23-5. 

The Red Flash (9-7, 4-1 NEC) pieced together a 12-3 run to cut the Pioneer lead to 26-17 with 2:32 left in the half.  Red Flash forward Alli Williams drilled a three from the win and followed it with a deep straight-away triple to force a SHU time-out at 2:32.  The Pioneers ended the first half with a pair of threes from junior Blair Koniszewski (Vienna, VA). 

The junior shooting guard hit from the right wing at 1:20 and then beat the halftime horn from the same spot to send SHU to the locker room up 34-19.  The Red Flash were plagued by 18 first half turnover, leading to 14 points for the Pioneers.

Sacred Heart continued to dominate in the second half and saw their lead hit 42-22 after a Morgan Merriman (Seattle, WA) jumper and fast break lay-in.   Gabrielle Washington (Mesa, Ariz.) converted on a three-point play at 12:56 putting the Pioneers up 46-24.  The SHU lead hit its high point at 49-24 with 12:39 left.

The Red Flash made a run at getting back in to the game, putting together a 14-3 run over the next four minutes.  Brittany Lilly drilled a straight-away three at 8:26 to force the Pioneers to use another time-out with their lead cut to 49-24.

Out of the time-out, SHU's Kiley Evans (Cazenovia, NY) buried a three from the corner to halt the run as the Pioneers closed out their second NEC win from their and knocking the Red Flash from the league unbeatens.

The Pioneers finished the game holding the Red Flash to 29.8 percent (17-57) shooting and 28  total turnovers.  The Pioneers also did a nice job in transition, scoring 12 fast break points. 

Evans matched Norman's 16 points while Washington added 12 points.  Merriman had 11 and Koniszewski came off the bench for 11 points to round out five players in double digits.

The Pioneers close their road trip on Monday afternoon at Robert Morris.  The Pioneers and Colonials tip-off at 2 pm on Monday afternoon from the Sewell Center in Moon Township, PA.

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