Balanced attack helps SHU defeat Red Flash, 68-36

Balanced attack helps SHU defeat Red Flash, 68-36

Feb. 16, 2008

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FAIRFIELD, Conn. (February 16, 2008) -- Junior Stephanie Ryan (Coram, N.Y.) scored a game-high 15 points and junior center Kaitlin Sowinski (Hopkinton, R.I.) added 13 as Sacred Heart moved past St. Francis (Pa.), 68-36, in front of 858 at the Pitt Center on Saturday afternoon.

Ryan, who scored the first seven points of the game, jumpstarted a 14-0 run for the first 4:33 of play and the Pioneers (17-8, 12-2) never looked back.

"We came out with intensity," said junior guard Khalia Cain (Manchester), who contributed nine points and four rebounds on 4-of-7 shooting. "Our defense was energetic and from tip-off, [Ryan] took over and we followed suit."

In the initial run, the Pioneers were 6-of-7 from the floor, while the Red Flash (6-18, 3-10) were 0-of-7. However, St. Francis (Pa.) regained some momentum and built a 10-3 run of its own to cut its deficit to just six.

At the 8:23 mark, Sowinski converted on a lay-up and began a 17-3 run to end the half and balloon her team's lead to 37-15. St. Francis (Pa.) went in a scoring drought that spanned from 5:29 left in the first to 3:24 into the second, and failed to stop the balanced Sacred Heart offensive attack.

While the Red Flash had its scoring troubles, the Pioneers kept rolling and eventually maintained a 30-point lead.

Several bench players received some big minutes, including Liz Gruber (Staten Island, N.Y.) and Lisa Moray (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.). Gruber scored six points, grabbed four rebounds and dished out four assists in 19 minutes, while Moray hit two 3-point field goals in 22.

"It was a relief for our team, being that we've played two games in three days," said Ryan. "It's always good to rest our legs. We were able to work on some of our weaknesses and fine-tune our games."

Britney Hodges and Janie Killian paced the Red Flash with 12 points apiece, but no other player had more than four points. They shot just 31.9 percent from the floor -- including a 26.9 mark in the first half -- and turned the ball over 22 times.

Sacred Heart was 10-for-15 from 3-point field goal range, while St. Francis (Pa.) was 0-for-9.

But one possible cause for concern for the Pioneers was Alisa Apo's (Freehold, N.J.) minor ankle injury suffered in the first half. The freshman, who is averaging over 16 points per game in the Northeast Conference, hobbled off the floor, but shouldn't miss any significant time. She continued to play after getting her ankle taped up and finished with six points and three assists.

"She's fine, but she'll be sore tomorrow," said coach Ed Swanson. "This is the time of year everybody gets a sprained knee, sprained ankle, whatever. They're the sniffles. You just have to be tough and play past them."