Jan. 23, 2006
FAIRFIELD, CT (January 23, 2006) - Sacred Heart broke open a three-point game with 5:53 on the clock, outscoring Robert Morris 16-0 down the stretch to come away with a 78-59 win to claim sole possession of first place in the Northeast Conference. Junior Amanda Pape (Stamford, CT) led the Pioneers to their 15th win on the year (15-2) and ninth-straight overall with 22 points, eight rebounds, five steals and four assists while playing all 40 minutes in the win.
The Pioneers, playing their biggest home game to date against the Colonials, got out of the gates quickly and jumped out to a 13-4 lead at 13:46. Robert Morris quickly responded and stormed back in the game with a 10-1 run fueled by a pair of Jenna Burkett three's to get within 19-14. SHU's lead grew back to 11 just two minutes later, 25-14, but the Colonials found an answer again.
RMU cut the lead to 26-19 with seven minutes to go when junior point guard Kerri Burke (Saugus, MA) picked up her second foul of the half and was forced to the bench. The Pioneers were able to hold the lead and were up 10, 38-28, with two and a half minutes to go. But Robert Morris rallied again late in the half, using a 6-0 run the final minutes of the half to trail by four, 38-34, at the break. The Colonials hurt themselves in the first 20 minutes with 12 turnovers as both teams shot 40.0% in the half. SHU struggled at the free throw line, hitting just seven-of-13.
The Pioneers never trailed in the second half but Robert Morris put the pressure on cutting the lead two on a Psyche Butler jumper out of the gates. The Colonials cut to within one, 46-45, at the 15 minute mark on a Tess Cooley three but a Mikara Cimmino (Hampden, MA) lay-up and foul shots by Burke and Mary Rush (Waterbury, CT) pushed the lead back to five, 50-45, with 11:54 to go.
The lead grew to eight, 56-48, at the 10:30 mark, but the Colonials kept coming and to within three points on three times, the last being their final bucket of the game at 5:53, a jumper by Princess Alston. With the lead at 62-59, the Pioneer offense exploded over the final five minutes to pull away and seal away the victory.
A free throw by Jasmine Walker (Amityville, NY) started the run, followed by a fast-break lay-up from Burke. Pape stole the inbounds and converted the lay-in and Rush nailed a three the next time down the court to go up 11, 70-59.
After the final media timeout, Robert Morris missed a three and then a jumper as the Pioneer got back-to-back three's from Burke and Rush, who's shot hit the bottom of the net as the shot clock buzzer rang, to iced the game with 2:35 left. Pape added the finishing touches on the 16-0 run with her final jumper of the night at 1:45 to produce the final score, 78-59, keeping SHU undefeated in the league at 8-0.
Pape fueled the Pioneer's all night, using her intensity and non-stop motor on defense to produce five steals and block a shot. In addition to her game-high 22 points, Walker notched her fifth double double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Burke had a monster game with 13 points and six assists to go with three steals. Nicolle Rubino (Port Jefferson Station, NY) rounded out the Pioneers in double figures with 13 points.
The Colonials, now 10-6 overall and 6-1 in the NEC, Butler finished with a double double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. Natasha Summerville scored 18 in the loss. The Colonials finished the game with 24 turnovers but out rebound SHU, 41-38.
The Pioneers have now won eight-straight games in the Pitt Center this season and own sole possession of first place in the NEC. Sacred Heart and Robert Morris will not play again this season as the schedule only had the two teams meeting once this year.
Sacred Heart returns to the court on Wednesday evening with a trip to Fairleigh Dickinson for a 7 pm tip.