LORETTO, Pa. – The no. 4 Sacred Heart University women's basketball team (14-16, 9-9 NEC) avenged not only a pair of regular season setbacks but a 2016-17 semifinals loss to no. 5 Bryant (9-21, 8-10 NEC) as the Pioneers took down the Bulldogs, 80-63, Wednesday evening at DeGol Arena in the NEC Quarterfinal. Five Pioneers reached double-figures landing four in the double-digit scoring column.
How it happened…
Bryant held a lead up three midway through the first quarter on the backend of a bucket from behind the arc to the credit of Kierra Palmer. However, senior guard Tykera Carter provided the answer to plateau the score at 12-up at the 4:24 mark.
Redshirt-junior guard Candice Leatherwood used her quickness to get straight to the rack absorbing the contact for the tough finish and completed the three-point play to place the Pioneers in the forefront permanently.
Leatherwood reached the 20-point mark for the seventh time this season (20 points) while leading all players in assists (5). The floor general also picked up two steals, five boards and netted four of her five tries at the stripe while shooting 53.8-percent for the game.
Katherine Haines provided 17 points off the bench while grabbing eight rebounds. She also added a steal, drilled a triple and shot 42.1-percent on the night.
Carter registered 16 points, six boards, went perfect at the line (4-of-4), handed out two helpers and picked up a theft in a team-leading 34 minutes of action.
Adrianne Hagood recorded her first double-digit scoring performance in four games and third in six games dropping 13 tonight. The freshman also went 7-of-10 at the stripe and hit two treys.
Abigail Kangudie pulled down 11 boards including three on the offensive glass to lead SHU.
- SHU converted 19 points off of 12 Bryant miscues while the Bulldogs earned eight off 11 SHU turnovers.
- The Pioneers' reserves accounted for 23 of the team's 80 points.
- SHU's 80 points scored is the highest since the Pioneers recorded 82 against Mount St. Mary's on January 6, 2018.
- The Pioneers have won seven of their last eight games.
Head Coach Jessica Mannetti opening statement
"I think this was an awesome start to playoffs. I want to congratulate Bryant on a terrific effort tonight, they challenged us all season, they beat us twice and knocked us out of the playoffs last year. I think that was something on our minds going into tonight, they have very good players a first teamer and an all-rookie. I thought they played well but I'm proud of our team, they were locked in, focused, executed the game plan really well. I thought they really came together, we're short on depth, we've got starters that are out we have juggled lineups, so I am proud of the way that they fought and found a way tonight."
Q: You won the battle of the boards, that had to be a key going into tonight against a strong rebounding team like Bryant
A: "You're right that was huge. The last time we played, they beat us by four and a game that gives me nightmares. They had 20 points off rebounds in that contest. That was the center of our game plan, and they challenge you. Sydney Holloway is one of the most dynamic rebounders I have ever seen, she has a great nose for the ball. Bryant will out work you and out hustle you for the rebound and I thought we did a great job combating that tonight."
Q: Your team went 22-27 from the line tonight, attacking and getting to the rim, how much of that was the game plan and how much of it was just seizing an opportunity when you saw a lane?
A: Tykera Carter: That is one of our team goals, getting to the line at least 20 times per game, when you accomplish that goal and then succeed in hitting your foul shots. You know you're going to have a good day. I thought we did a good job staying aggressive the entire game and keeping them on their heels.
The Pioneers will match will host and no. 1 seed Saint Francis U tomorrow at DeGol Arena.