February 13, 2010

Sacred Heart Pioneers Come Up Short, 64-63, Falling to St. Francis (NY)

Feb. 13, 2010

Final Stats

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (February 13, 2010) - Sacred Heart's Alisa Apo (Freehold, NJ) scored a game-high 25 points but couldn't get her last shot to fall with one second left as the Pioneers came up short, falling to St. Francis (NY) 64-63 Saturday afternoon in the William H. Pitt Center. The Pioneers drop their second-straight Northeast Conference game to fall to 18-7 overall and 11-3 in the league.

The loss ends a 17-game winning streak in the series between the two schools dating back to the 1999-2000 season, SHU's first in the Northeast Conference. The Pioneers have lost two-straight NEC games for the first time since the 2005-06 season while Saturday's loss coupled with the loss to Long Island on Thursday marks the first time in program history the Pioneers have lost two-straight home conference games.

The Pioneers (18-7, 11-3 NEC) opened up a 10-7 lead early after Maggie Cosgrove's (Andover, MA) first three of the afternoon and a fast-break lay-up by freshman Kiley Evans (Cazenovia, NY). The Terriers grabbed control building a 25-13 lead into the 7:37 mark. Down 10-9, St. Francis's Tiara Dunson got a 16-3 run started with a lay-in at 13:29. A pair of three's from Jacinda Williams and Autumn Lau was followed by a Kim Snauwaert runner for a 25-13 Terrier advantage, capping the run.

Sacred Heart went to work and used a 9-1 spurt to cut the lead to 26-22 with 1:32 to play in the half. Senior Lindsey Gibson (Mechanicville, NY) fed Apo for a runner in the lane and then buried a foul line jumper to help fuel the run. St. Francis (NY) snapped a seven and a half minute stretch without a field goal just before the break as Snauwaert hit underneath with eight seconds left for a 28-22 lead, their first halftime lead this season.

The Terriers (2-23, 1-13 NEC) shot 50.0% (12-24) in the first half, outscoring SHU 14-8 in the paint while holding the Pioneers to 23.3% (7-30) shooting. St. Francis kept the hot hand to start the second half and led by seven, 37-30, just over three minutes in. SHU twice pulled within one point over the next four and a half minutes. Cosgrove buried her fourth three of the day to pull within 39-38 and then followed with a foul line jumper to cut it the lead to 41-40 with 12:12 left. The Terriers answered and Amber Lau and Snauwaert hit a pair of jumpers to push the SFNY lead to seven, 47-40, at 10:27.

Amber Lau buried a three at the nine minute mark for a 50-44 lead but from there the Terriers went cold and Sacred Heart took advantage. The Pioneers ripped off a 14-0 run over a two and a half minute stretch to take their biggest lead of the game at 58-50. Apo tied the game at 50-50 with a runner in the line, drawing the foul and completing the three-point chance. The junior guard gave SHU its first lead since the 13:49 mark of the first half with a three from the left corner, 53-50.

Another Apo lay-up drew a foul at 6:34 but she missed the free throw with teammate Alexis Campbell (Ashburn, VA) pulling down the rebound. Campbell was fouled and hit one of two to give the Pioneers a 58-50 lead with 6:32 left. The Terriers refused to fold and an Autumn Lau three was followed by a three-point play by Dunson to quickly slice the lead to 58-56.

Apo again gave the Pioneers a boost, completing her second lay-up and one opportunity of the game at 5:11 for a 61-56 lead. Terrier guard Shannon Gant followed with three big makes, following an Evans miss with a lay-up to pull her team to within 61-60 at 3:44. Following the final media time-out, SHU's Apo extended the lead back to three with a pair of free throws but Gant answered with a jumper in the paint to keep her team alive, 63-62, with 3:23 left.

Sacred Heart had two chances to extend their lead but a pair of free throw misses by Apo and a turnover by Kiley Evans gave the Terriers the ball with a chance for a lead. The Terriers again went to Gantt and she delivered burying a runner underneath off a feed from Dunson for a 64-63 lead with 1:07 left.

Gantt followed that with a stellar defensive effort, getting steal forcing SHU to foul with 27 seconds left. Dunson went to the line for a one-and-one but missed the front end as Gibson pulled down the rebound and set up SHU with a chance at the last shot. The Pioneers went to Apo who broke clear across the lane but saw here lay-up attempt just carom out with one second remaining leaving SHU a point shy of the win.

Apo's 25 point afternoon came on eight-of-20 shooting and eight-of-13 at the free throw line. She added four rebounds and four steals to her totals. Cosgrove buried five-of-10 from behind the arc on her way to a 19-point afternoon while Evans finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.

The Terriers finished the game shooting 53.1% (26-49) and where led by Snauwaert who scored 16 points. Autumn Lau finished with 12 points while Dunson had 10 points.

The Pioneers will hit the road next week heading to Pennsylvania to face Robert Morris and Saint Francis (PA). SHU will take on the Colonials on Thursday night at 5:00 pm and face the Red Flash on Saturday at 12 noon.

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