Pioneers Suffer 57-48 NEC Loss at Home to Long Island

Jan. 29, 2007

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FAIRFIELD, CT (January 29, 2007) - Sacred Heart senior Jasmine Walker (Amityville, NY) scored 19 points on nine-of-10 shooting but the Pioneers hit just one-of-11 from behind the arc and turned the ball over 22 times falling to Long Island, 57-48, at home Monday night in a battle of one loss Northeast Conference teams. The Blackbirds (17-5, 10-1 NEC) grabbed their 10th-straight win and sit alone atop the NEC standings with the win and in the process snapped SHU's 15-game home winning streak over league opponents.

The two teams trudged through a very sloppy first half where both teams turned it over a combined 26 times. The Blackbirds, who came in were averaging just 13.7 turnovers per-game, had 15 in the first 20 minutes alone. LIU's Valerie Nainima, the reigning NEC Rookie of the Week, got off to a fast start with a three and then drew a foul on her next long range shot, sinking all three free throws for her team's first six points. A pair of fouls caught up with the LIU freshman keeping on the bench for much of the rest of the half.

The Pioneers (13-8, 8-2 NEC) got up four seven minutes in, 13-9, after a quick 7-2 run but the Pioneers couldn't pull away and the Blackbirds quickly tied the game after a Sonya Coleman jumper and a steal followed by a fast break lay-up by Marquita Thompson. SHU twice more got out in front by four in the half but LIU came right back and the two teams went to the locker room tied, 24-24.

The second half was all Long Island as the Blackbirds buried five-of-eight (62.5%) from behind the arc and used a 16-4 run to break open a 32-32 game en route to the win. Mikaelar Whippy gave her team a 32-30 lead with a three at 16:33 before a pair of Amanda Pape (Stamford, CT) free throws tied the game fro the last time at the 16 minute mark. From there, the Blackbirds where off and running with Whippy capping the run at 10:38 with another three to push the lead to double digits, 48-36.

Walker tried to lift the Pioneers, scoring the next five-straight points to cut the lead to seven but Whippy ended the rally with a running lay-up. Whippy struck again at 5:21, pushing the lead back to double digits, 53-43, with her third three of the half and the Blackbirds held the Pioneers in check the rest of the way, heading home with a 57-48 win.

Whippy finished with 19 points, six rebounds, four steals and two assists in leading her team to the win. Nainima hit three-of-three from behind the arc on the way to 14 points with four assists and four steals. As a team, Long Island held a 34-27 advantage on the boards, scoring 16 second chance points.

In addition to Walker's 19 points, sophomore Kaitlin Sowinski (Hopkinton, RI) tallied 14 in the win. The inside duo combined to shoot 15-20 on the night as the Pioneers held a 28-14 advantage in the paint. Walker added nine rebounds and a pair of steals to her totals. Sowinski had five rebounds, three assists and three blocks. Pape finished with 11 points and came up with six steals in the loss.

The Pioneers are back at home on Saturday afternoon when they host Central Connecticut at 2:00 pm.

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