Feb. 14, 2009
LORETTO, Pa. (February 14, 2009) - Sacred Heart got 27 points apiece from sophomore Alisa Apo (Freehold, NJ) and senior Kaitlin Sowinski (Hopkinton, RI) as the Pioneers battled their way to their 14th-straight victory beating Saint Francis (PA) on the road, 76-69. The win kept the Pioneers perfect in the Northeast Conference at 15-0 and clinched SHU at least a share of the regular season championship with three league games left. The win gave the Pioneers eight-straight seasons with 18 or more wins.
With senior center Kaitlin Sowinski (Hopkinton, RI) limited to just nine minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, Apo carried the Pioneers scoring 16 or her 27 points. The sophomore guard buried her first three just seven seconds into play before the Red Flash would burst out with a 16-6 run over the next five minutes. Britney Hodges picked a pass at midcourt and raced in for an uncontested lay-in to give SFPA their biggest lead of the afternoon at 16-9 with 14:37 on the clock.
From there Apo took over and guided the Pioneers to a 13-2 run to lead 22-18. After a Maggie Cosgrove (Andover, MA) jumper started the rally, Apo scored the Pioneers next 10-straight points to give her 15 by the 10:54 mark. SHU could only push their lead to six, 24-18, thanks to a Sowinski lay-up underneath but the senior center was forced to the bench next time up thanks to her second foul at 8:12.
The Red Flash (9-15, 7-6 NEC) failed to take full advantage, cutting the SHU lead twice down to just two points but could get no closer. Up 26-24 with 5:15 left, the Pioneers were able to push the lead to six at the half as junior Lindsay Gibson (Mechanicville, NY) hit a runner in the lane and a pair of free throws to give SHU a 33-27 lead at the break.
Sacred Heart's (18-7, 15-0) Sowinski went to work in the first eight minutes of the second half, dominating with 12 of the Pioneers first 14 points out of the locker room. Her two free throws at 15:07 gave the Pioneers a nine-point lead, 47-38. After the Red Flash quickly answered to cut it down to six, 48-42, Cosgrove and Apo buried back-to-back three's to give SHU a 54-44 advantage.
Sowinski gave her team its biggest lead, 63-51, with 6:43 left with her a lay-up for her 25th and 26th points of the night but the Red Flash refused to falter and scrapped their way back in. SFPA cut the lead all the way down to three thanks to an 11-2 run. Red Flash center Janie Killian hit a lay-up and a pair of free throws as her team pulled within 65-62 with 3:15 left.
The Pioneers went right to their go-to player in Apo and the sophomore star delivered. A jumper on the baseline pushed the lead back to five followed quickly by a pair of free throws for a seven point advantage. Another Killian lay-up cut it back to five but Apo proved too much to handle as she sliced her way for a lay-in to lead 71-64 with one minute left. Apo made it eight-straight points the next time down hitting two more free throws to seal up her 27 point night. Cosgrove closed it out with a pair of free ones with five ticks left to produce the 76-69 final.
Apo finished nine-of-15 from the field and four-of-nine from three on her way to 27 points. She added five assists, a block and a steal. Sowinski was 10-of-21 and seven-of-11 at the line and added three blocks and six boards to her totals.
Cosgrove was the only other Pioneer in double digits with 11 points. Freshman Callan Taylor (Overland Park, KS) tied her season-low with two points but pulled down 10 boards.
The Pioneers will be off until next Saturday, February 21st when they play host to Monmouth University.