Women's Hoops Loses Season-Opener in Heartbreaking Fashion; Falls to St. John's 77-72

FAIRFIELD, CONN. (November 8, 2013)—The Sacred Heart women's basketball team lost a heartbreaker in overtime in Friday's season-opener. Despite Gabrielle Washington (Mesa, Ariz.) recording her first career double-double, St. John's edged out the Pioneers in the final minute of the game to take it 77-72.

Washington lit up the scoreboard with 26 points, while pulling down 10 rebounds tonight. Meanwhile, freshman Caitlyn Abela (South Easton, Mass.) made a statement in her collegiate debut posting 16 points and shooting .500 from the field (5-for-10).

After spending two years on the bench due to injuries, Hannah Kimmel (Harpursville, N.Y.) posted 10 points in the season-opener and brought down four boards.

The Red Storm got on the board first with a layup from Briana Brown, but Washington and Abela combined for six points to give the Pioneers their first lead of the night. It was short-lived however, as St. John's reclaimed the lead 8-7 on a three-pointer from Mallory Jones. They maintained the lead up until the end of the first half, but a last-second trey from Abela brought the Pioneers within one, 29-28 at the buzzer.

Just over six minutes into the second half, Sacred Heart was back on top thanks to another three from Abela. The tough Pioneer defense held the Red Storm scoreless for five minutes while they increased their lead 42-39.

St. John's fought back to tie the score at 44. From there, both teams battled trying to take a substantial lead on their way to the finish line, but neither team could. The score tied seven more times in regulation with the scoreboard reading 64-64 when the buzzer went off. The Pioneers bounced back from poor shooting in the first half to shoot 40% in the second. Washington accounted for one third of SHU's points in the period, while Lerae Ettienne (Kensington, Md.) went two-for-two in just four minutes on the court.

Sacred Heart took a quick lead in overtime with Washington putting two points on the board from the foul line less than a minute in. However, the Red Storm caught up and snapped a 72-72 tie with a game-ending five-point run.

The Pioneers gear up for their first road game of the year next Saturday, November 16 at Yale.