Jan. 21, 2006
FAIRFIELD, CT (January 21, 2006) - The Sacred Heart trio of senior Nicolle Rubino (Port Jefferson Station, NY) and juniors Amanda Pape (Stamford, CT) and Jasmine Walker (Amityville, NY) each scored double figures as the Pioneers won their eighth-straight, 65-51, over St. Francis (PA) in front of a Division I school record crowd of 1,153 Saturday afternoon. The win gives the Pioneers the season sweep over the Red Flash and runs their overall record to 14-2 while keeping them unbeaten in the Northeast Conference at 7-0, setting up a first-place showdown with Robert Morris (6-0) on Monday night.
SHU took control early in the first half running out to a 12-3 lead five and a half minutes in. The lead grew to twenty, 30-10, by the eight minute mark as the Pioneers took full advantage of poor St. Francis shooting and an abundance of Red Flash turnovers. SFPA shot just 22.2% (6-27) in the half and turned the ball over 17 times in the first 20 minutes of play. The Pioneers turned those 17 miscues into 17 points at the other end while hitting 44.1% (15-34) from the field. Rubino scored 10 of her 13 points in the half.
The Sacred Heart lead peaked at 29 as the Pioneers opened the second half with a 13-4 run over the first five minutes. Rubino buried a three to open the half and Walker capped it with three-straight lay-ups. With SHU leading 52-29 at the 12:41 mark, the Red Flash was able to use a small run of their own to cut into the lead. St. Francis rallied off a 16-5 run over the next three minutes led by a pair of three-point plays by Beth Halter.
The Pioneers responded and a pair of Pape free throws and a Kerri Burke (Saugus, MA) lay-up but the lead quickly back to 18, 61-43, with just over seven minutes to go. SHU would dig in defensively and kept the Red Flash in check the rest of the way.
Walker led all scorers with 17 points on eight-of-13 shooting while grabbing six boards, making two steals and blocking a shot. Pape tallied 15 and notched her fourth double double of the season with 12 rebounds, a season-high. She added four steals and a pair of helpers to her totals. In addition to her 13 points, Rubino finished with four assists and two steals.
For the Red Flash, now 2-15 overall and 2-4 in the NEC, Halter picked up a double dip with 14 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. She also turned away three Sacred Heart shots on the afternoon. Emily Bollinger came off the bench for 10 points. As a team, the Red Flash finished the game shooting 32.8% (19-58) and turned the ball over 24 times.
Before this afternoon's game, Sacred Heart honored both Pape and Rubino with commemorative basketballs, recognizing their reaching the 1,000-point mark for their careers.
Today's win kept the Pioneers perfect at home this season at 7-0. The win combined with the SHU men's 65-54 win over St. Francis kept Sacred Heart undefeated in men's/women's doubleheader game this season. The two teams are a combined 12-0 when playing together on the same day and at the same site.
Sacred Heart will play host to fellow conference unbeaten Robert Morris on Monday night in what will be a battle for sole possession of first place in the NEC. The Pioneers and Colonials, the top two teams in the NEC preseason poll, will meet just once during the regular season. Tip is set for 7:00 p.m.