February 23, 2007

Pioneers Erase 16-point Second Half Deficit for 59-54 Win at Monmouth

Feb. 23, 2007

Final Stats |  Notes

W. LONG BRANCH, N.J. (February 23, 2007) - On the strength of matching double doubles from seniors Jasmine Walker (Amityville, CT) and Amanda Pape (Stamford, CT), the Sacred Heart women's basketball team battled their way back from a 16-point second half hole to steal away a 59-54 win at Monmouth Friday night. The Pioneers used some crafty work on the boards, holding a 39-35 edge in rebounding, while outscoring the Hawks, 37-19, in the second half to come away with their fourth-straight win.

Sacred Heart (19-9, 14-3 NEC) was forced to play from behind for most of the game Friday night, finding themselves behind 15 at the break, 35-22. SHU shot just 28.6% (8-28) over the first 20 minutes, turning it over eight times.

The Pioneers jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the game's opening three minutes but went stone cold offensively allowing Monmouth to build a double digit lead. The Hawks rattled off an 11-0 run over the next five minutes to lead 13-6, before a pair of free throws from senior Mary Rush (Waterbury, CT) ended the run.

SHU still struggled to find their offensive rhythm and let their streak hit five-straight misses before a Rush lay-in ended the drought with the Pioneers trailing 20-10 just inside 10 minutes. Seven of the Pioneer's eight first half turnovers came during the seven minute stretch.

Pape cut the lead to five, 20-15 with a jumper at 7:41 but the Hawks put together a 12-2 run on their way to outscoring SHU 15-7 the rest of the half.

In the opening minutes of the second half, Monmouth's lead hit 16 twice before a Pape three cut the deficit to 41-28 at 16:54. After cutting it to 11, 41-30, on a Walker lay-in; Rachel Ferdinand buried a jumper from the wing on the Hawks next possession.

From there, SHU turned up the offensive heat. Junior Lisa Moray (Hopewell Junction, NY) got the Pioneers started with a jumper that ignited a 15-0 run that gave SHU their first lead since the opening minutes of the game. Moray cut the lead to 43-39 on a long three and Walker pulled SHU to within one on a three-point play at 10:24. After a shot clock violation on SHU's next possession, Monmouth's Jennifer Bender's shot missed its mark and Moray buried another long three to put the Pioneers in front, 45-43 with 9:29 on the clock.

The Hawks answered and on back-to-back Ferdinand jumpers took the lead back, 47-45. The Pioneers countered with points on their next two possessions to jump back in front before Marisa Jimenez hit a runner in the lane to tie the game at 49-49 just before the five minute mark. Another SHU shot clock violation gave the Hawks the chance to grab the lead back and Jimenez answered with a jumper.

From there, SHU's Walker and Pape took over. Walker hit a baseline jumper and after a free throw by Lindsey Zegowitz gave MU one last lead at 52-51, the senior got loose underneath for a lay-up to put SHU in front, 53-52. Next time up court, Walker pulled down an offensive board and was fouled, hitting one of two on SHU's next possession for a 54-52 lead. Zegowitz tied the game for the last time on a dish underneath from Ferdinand, 54-54, with 2:15 to play.

Walker gave the Pioneers the lead for good, with another offensive put back and after a Monmouth traveling call, Pape hit a wide open back-door cut off a feed from Moray for a four-point, 58-54 lead with 45 seconds to play. With the shot clock winding down, the Hawks settled for a three from Veronica Randolph that missed its mark with the rebound being collected by sophomore Kaitlin Sowinski (Hopkinton, RI) with 17 ticks left. Sowinski hit one-of-two and the Hawks turned it over and missed a last second three as the Pioneers escaped Boylan Gymnasium with the 59-54 win.

The Pioneers won for the fifth time this season when trailing at the half, overcoming their largest deficit (37-22) en route to the victory. SHU hit 48.l% (13-27) in the second half while holding the Hawks to just 36.0% (9-25) over the final 20 minutes.

Pape finished with her fourth-straight double double, leading all scorers with 21 points with 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals. Walker finished seven-of-11 for 18 to go along with 14 rebounds. Walker posted her third double dip in the last four games and pulled down 14 boards for the third straight game.

Moray also finished in double digits with 11 along with three helpers.

The Hawks (17-11, 10-7 NEC) failed to get a player in double figures as Ferdinand, Jimenez and Brianne Edwards all scored eight points.

The Pioneers close out the regular season on Tuesday night when they travel to Quinnipiac for a 7:00 pm start. The 2007 NEC Tournament will get underway on Saturday, March 3rd with the Pioneers guaranteed no worse the #3 seed and a first round home game.