January 3, 2009

Sacred Heart Shoots Past Monmouth, 77-65, in Return to NEC Action

Jan. 3, 2009

Box Score

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. (January 3, 2009) - The Sacred Heart duo of sophomore Alisa Apo (Freehold, NH) and senior Kaitlin Sowinski (Hopkinton, RI) scored 23 and 22 points each as the Pioneers improved to 3-0 in Northeast Conference play with a 77-65 win at Monmouth University Saturday afternoon. The Pioneers shot a season-best 55.3% (26-47) from the field and 95.0% (19-20) at the line in the win.

SHU (6-7, 3-0 NEC) shot out to an 8-2 lead in the game's opening minutes and led by five, 14-9, at 13:49 thanks to back-to-back three's from Apo and fellow sophomore Maggie Cosgrove (Andover, MA). Monmouth cut it down to a bucket, 19-17, before a quick 7-2 spurt pushed the Pioneer lead to seven, 26-19, with 7:41 left. Apo buried her second three followed by a pair of Sowinski lay-ins.

Monmouth (5-8, 0-3 NEC) began to chip away and pulled within two, 33-31, on an Alexis Canady three with 3:23 left. The Hawks got even on their next possession as LaKia Barber got fouled, went to the line and hit both. Both teams traded hoops in the final minutes with SHU's Apo hitting a pair of jumpers to send the game into the break tied, 37-37.

The game stayed nip-and-tuck for the first five minutes of the second half before the Pioneers were able to pull away. The Hawks took back the lead twice, going up 44-43 thanks to a Jennifer Bender lay-up at 15:45. That would prove to be MU's final lead of the afternoon as the Pioneer offense kicked into high gear and went on a 16-4 run over the next six and a half minutes to lead 59-48.

The Hawks briefly cut the lead to single digits on an Alexis Scott three next time down but another SHU run put the game out of reach. The Pioneers did their damage at the free throw line, hitting 12-of-12 over the final 7:44 as their lead went as high as 14 points down the stretch.

Apo finished with her second-straight 20-point effort, hitting seven-f-16 from the field. She added six rebounds and five assists to her totals. Sowinski missed just once on the day, making eight-of-nine from the field and six-of-six from the line to total 22 points. She pulled down six boards and blocked five shots as well.

Senior Stephanie Ryan (Coram, NY) hit for 13 points and seven rebounds. The Pioneers held a 29-22 advantage on the boards and got 14 second chance points. SHU hit 50.0% (6-12) from behind the arc for the second -straight game.

The Hawks got 20 points from Bender who led four players in double figures. Scott finished with 19 in the loss. MU hit 59.1% (13-22) in the first half but went just 10-of-29 (.345) in the second half.

The Pioneers are right back in action on Monday night when they travel to Brooklyn to take on the Long Island Blackbirds. The game will be featured as a double header with the SHU / LIU men's game with tip-off scheduled for 5:00 pm.

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