Jan. 4, 2006
FAIRFIELD, CT (January 4, 2006) - The Sacred Heart women's basketball team used an all-around defensive effort to post a 65-40 win over visiting Central Connecticut State University Wednesday evening in Northeast Conference action. The Pioneers held the Blue Devils to just 26.4% (14-53) shooting in the game and held a 40-27 advantage on the boards to improve to 9-2 overall and stay perfect in the NEC at 3-0. CCSU, playing their conference opener, falls to 3-8 and 0-1.
SHU never trailed on Wednesday night, shooting the ball very well from the field (48.9%) and at the free throw line hitting 17-of-20 (85.0%). The Pioneers did struggle protecting the basketball at times, turning the ball over 13 times each half, the second highest total this season (26). Despite SHU's sometimes sloppy play, the Blue Devils did little to capitalize.
CCSU tailed by just 11 at the half, 27-16 but the combination of some dismal shooting, five-of-29 (17.2%) and the Pioneers shutting down NEC scoring and rebounding leader Gabriella Guegbelet left the Blue Devils wondering if they had missed their chance to take control. Guegbelet, thanks to the defensive play of SHU center Jasmine Walker (Amityville, NY) and constant double teams managed two points and two rebounds in the half while taking just two shots.
The Pioneers biggest lead of the first half was 13, 27-14, at the five minute mark after an Amanda Pape (Stamford, CT) jumper and Lisa Moray (Hopewell Junction, NY) three on successive possessions. SHU used the first five minutes of the second half well, taking control of the game with a 13-4 run to take a commanding 20 point lead, 40-20. The Pioneers went right inside to Walker for a lay-up and Pape followed with a pair of free throws. A pair of buckets from Nicolle Rubino (Port Jefferson Station, NY) and Kerri Burke (Saugus, MA) was sandwiched around a Mikara Cimmino (Hampden, MA) lay in to complete the run.
The Blue Devils cut to within 17 at the 11 minute mark but would never threaten a closer as SHU continued to clamp down defensively. The Pioneers got 20 points out of Pape who shot six-of-11 from the field and a perfect eight-of-eight at the line. She also added four rebounds and four steals.
Walker tallied 10 points with seven rebounds while Rubino finished with seven points, four steals and four assists. Freshman Kaitlin Sowinski (Hopkinton, RI) continued to play well in the middle, scoring five points, grabbing six rebounds and blocking three shots. Cimmino also played well off the bench adding seven points to the mix.
Central who managed just 12 points off the Pioneer's 26 turnovers, had 25 miscues of their own which SHU translated into 25 points. Guegbelet did manage to battle her way to 17 points, scoring eight over the final seven minutes of play. She was limited to just eight shots and finished with five rebounds. Denee Burgess had nine with six steals in the loss.
Sacred Heart will continue their home stand on Saturday afternoon when they host Wagner College at 2 pm in the first game of a NEC Doubleheader with the SHU men. The men will also face the Seahawks with the tip set for approximately 4 pm.