Jan. 30, 2006
BROOKLYN, NY (January 30, 2006) - The Long Island Blackbirds shot 56.8% and forced 21 Sacred Heart turnovers to come away with a 68-63 win Monday night, snapping the Pioneers 10-game winning streak and handing them their first loss in the Northeast Conference this year.
SHU's Jasmine Walker (Amityville, NY) posted a career-high with 20 points, 14 coming in the first half in the loss. Amanda Pape (Stamford, CT) scored 15 points, 13 in the second half and had three steals.
Walker was dominating over the first 20 minutes, scoring 14 of Sacred Heart's 29 points in the half on seven-of-10 shooting. After trading buckets in the early minutes, the Pioneers grabbed a 15-9 lead after a 7-0 run with a pair of Walker lay-ups and a Kerri Burke (Saugus, MA) three leading the way. SHU looked as if they were going to start to pull away but Long Island had other ideas and sprinted back into the game.
A 6-0 run by the Blackbirds gave them back the lead at 7:49, 16-15, and the lead would change hands eight more times in the next six minutes before LIU would go up 30-29 in the final seconds to send SHU into the locker room trailing at the break for just the fourth time this year.
The Pioneers quickly snatched the lead back in the opening seconds of the half and then built their biggest lead of the night, 45-38, over the next eight minutes. But Long Island would not be denied on this night and began their climb back. A Mikaelar Whippy three started off an 11-2 run where she chipped in a lay-up and a pair of free throws to give the Blackbirds the lead back, 49-48, with eight minutes to play.
The two teams traded buckets and the SHU was able to keep the game tied on five different occasion before the Blackbirds went up four in the late stages, as Mikaelar Whippy scored a pair of three-point plays to put LIU up 63-59 with just under two minutes to play.
SHU's Nicolle Rubino (Port Jefferson Station, NY) pulled SHU to within two, 63-61, on the next possession with a jumper in the lane and Burke grabbed a defensive board and went coast to coast for the tying lay-up with 57 seconds on the clock.
LIU's Marquita Thompson gave the Blackbirds the lead back on their next possession, hitting a leaning left-hander underneath, forcing the Pioneers to try and tie with 33 seconds left. The Pioneers set up for the final play and as Rubino was making her move to the hoop, Long Island's Sonya Coleman forced the ball loose and recovered it just shy of the baseline to force the Pioneers to foul. The Blackbird's Amber Wirth hit three-of-four at the free throw line in the closing second to seal the win.
Both Whippy and Thompson had career-highs for LIU, scoring 22 and 20 respectively. As a team, the Blackbirds hit seven-of-16 from behind the three-point arc, four off Whippy's hand.
The Pioneers shot well themselves at 55.3 % (26-47) but were hurt all night turning the ball over. SHU falls to 16-3 overall and 9-1 in the NEC with the loss. LIU is now 7-11 and 5-4 in the league.
Sacred Heart returns to action on Saturday afternoon when they travel to in-state rival Quinnipiac for a 1 pm start.