Brooklyn, N.Y. (March 4, 2013)—Blair Koniszewski (Vienna, Va.) led the Pioneers with 23 points, while Gabrielle Washington put 16 on the scoreboard, but it wasn't enough as sloppy play plagued the Sacred Heart Women's Basketball Team in the second half of the 73-68 loss to LIU Brooklyn Monday night in the Wellness Recreation and Athletics Center in the regular season finale. The Pioneers finish the regular season 21-9 overall and 13-5 against NEC opponents.
LIU controlled the ball for nearly the first minute of the game as Kelly Roberts notched the first points of the game, pulling down a board and laying it in.
Gabrielle Washington (Mesa, Ariz.), who is third in the country in free throw percentage, knocked down two from the charity stripe before Kiley Evans (Cazenovia, N.Y.) landed a jumper to give SHU its first lead of the game.
The teams exchanged points with the score tying at four and six, but the Pioneers always broke out on top, not allowing the Blackbirds a lead. A seven point run boosted Sacred Heart's lead to 13-6 by the 11:44 media.
Letava Whippy brought LIU within one, 21-20, with 6:26 left in the first half, with a triple before Tiffany Patterson reclaimed the lead for the Blackbirds with a jumper. It was short-lived, as Blair Konszewski (Vienna, Va.) drained back-to-back buckets from downtown forcing LIU to call a timeout.
From there, both teams battled making it a close game, but Sacred Heart managed to edge out the Blackbirds with a late six-point run for a 35-31 lead heading into halftime. The Pioneers had their third consecutive impressive first half performance, shooting 44.8% (13-29) from the hardwood, and forcing LIU into 12 turnovers.
LIU's opened the second half with an eight point run in the first 90 seconds to take a 39-35 lead and force SHU Head Coach Ed Swanson to take a timeout. Enjoli Bland (Queen Creek, Ariz.) notched the first second-half points for the Pioneers nearly two and a half minutes in snapping the Blackbirds' run.
After getting fouled by Tamika Guz, Morgan Merriman (Seattle, Wa.) tied the game at 39 with two from the charity stripe, but the Blackbirds answered with four to regain the lead.
Koniszewski and Merriman combined for five points on consecutive shots to put the Pioneers back on top, 46-44, with 14:07 left to play, but the Blackbirds went on an offensive attack, answering with a seven-point run taking a 51-46 lead.
SHU chipped away minimizing the Blackbirds' lead to just three with 2:08 left in the game with Ericka Norman's (Chino Hills, Calif.) 66-63, but it wouldn't be enough.
On Sunday, No. 2 Sacred Heart will host No. 7 St. Francis Brooklyn in the quarterfinal round of the Northeast Conference Championship at 2:00 p.m.