January 26, 2008

Pioneers Power Past Quinnipiac, 92-82, behind Sowinski's 33 Points

Jan. 26, 2008

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FAIRFIELD, CT (January 26, 2008) - Sacred Heart junior Kaitlin Sowinski (Hopkinton, RI) scored a career-high 33 points and pulled down 10 rebounds as the Pioneers dealt the visiting Quinnipiac Bobcats their first Northeast Conference loss on the year, 92-82, Saturday afternoon in the William H. Pitt Center. Sowinski notched her second double double this week while hitting 13-of-19 from the floor and seven-of-11 at the line before fouling out in the game's closing minute.

The win vaults the Pioneers into first place in the NEC standings at 8-1 while the picked up their seventh-straight win at home and ninth-straight over the Bobcats in the Pitt Center. Quinnipiac saw their six-game winning streak snapped as they fall to 7-1 in the league, a half game back.

Sacred Heart (12-8, 8-1 NEC) took the early advantage and built a 10-9 game at the first media time out into a 20-14 advantage at the 10 minute mark. The Bobcats cut the lead to one three times over the next five minutes and finally tied it at 4:12, 26-26, on an Erin Kerner three. Junior Stephanie Ryan (Coram, NY) and Sowinski sandwiched a pair of lay-ins around a Mandy Pennewell jumper for a 30-28 lead with 2:15 showing.

Quinnipiac (15-3, 7-1 NEC) caught fire over the final two minutes as Pennewell buried a three to give the Bobcats their first lead since the 15:30 mark. Kerner followed with a lay-up and a pair of free throws by Krystal Lazos gave QU a 35-30 lead with just over a minute left. The Pioneers went into Sowinski and she delivered a jumper in the lane. QU's Ashley Adams hit a jumper underneath but SHU freshman Alisa Apo (Freehold, NJ) buried a long three just before the halftime horn to send her team into the break down 37-35.

The Bobcat's lead hit eight out of the break, 37-45, as they rattled off a quick 10-2 spurt capped by a Courtney Kaminski three at 17:52. Junior Khalia Cain (Manchester, CT) answered with a three of her own but Pennewell shot the lead right back to eight with a matching three ball at the other end.

Sowinski got a 13-2 Pioneer rally started with a three-point play followed by a pair of Ryan three's. The junior center finished the rally off with a lay-in for a 53-50 lead with 13:41. Quinnipiac tied the game for the seventh time at 12:41 on a Pennewell three, 55-55. Ryan pushed Sacred Heart in front on a dribble drive and SHU got back in front six on another Sowinski three-point play at 10:33, 61-55.

QU chipped away at the SHU lead again, pulling within one after back to back three's by Kerner and Pennewell, her fifth of the afternoon, at 5:38, 70-69. Kaminski pulled her team all the way back next time down on a baseline jumper for a 71-70 lead with just under five to go. Ryan came up big with a three-point play on SHU's next possession and with the Pioneers up four with two minutes to go Apo came up with the play of the day.

The freshman guard sliced her way to the basket as the shot clock melted away, hitting a lay-up and drawing a foul on Kaminski. Apo nailed the ensuing free throw and put the Pioneers up seven, 82-75 with 1:57 left. Quinnipiac fouled the rest of the way and the Pioneers responded hitting 10-of-12 down the stretch to secure the victory.

SHU shot a scorching 66.7% (16-24) in the second half as four starters finished in double figures. Their 92 points and 53.6% (30-56) from the field for the afternoon both marked season-high marks. SHU dominated in the paint, outscoring Quinnipiac 40-22.

Apo matched her career-high set on Monday night against Fairleigh Dickinson with 24 points including four assists, a steal and a block in the win. Ryan notched a double double with 13 points and 10 rebounds to go with four assists. Cain went for 12 points with a pair of helpers in the win.

Today's game marked the 500th career game for head coach Ed Swanson at Sacred Heart. Swanson sports a 291-209 career record at his alma mater.

Sacred Heart returns to action on Monday night as they travel to Long Island University. Tip-off is slated for 7:00 pm.

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