Feb. 25, 2006
FAIRFIELD, CT (February 25, 2006) - Sacred Heart senior Nicolle Rubino (Port Jefferson Station, NY) tied her career-high with 27 points on "Senior Day" as the Pioneers posted an 87-64 win over visiting Quinnipiac, staking a claim to first-place in the Northeast Conference with one game to go. SHU can claim their first-ever regular season title with a win a Monmouth Tuesday night.
Rubino, playing in her final regular season home game, led four players in double figures as Sacred Heart wrapped up their second perfect season in the William H. Pitt Center (12-0) in the last three years. The win also set a new school mark for wins in a season at 22, breaking the old mark set during 2003-04 (21-8). SHU also posts their best-ever NEC mark with 15 wins.
The Pioneers were at their best defensively Saturday afternoon, smothering the Bobcats with their full court pressure all afternoon. SHU forced 27 Quinnipiac turnovers which led to 30 points.
SHU trailed for just about two minutes in the early going before sprinting out in front. Down 5-4, the Pioneers used a 16-2 run fueled by 10 points from Rubino to go up 18-7 at the 13:46 mark. QU whittled it down to six, 18-12, but a 16-5 run put the Pioneers up 17 at the five minute mark of the first half. The Bobcats committed 15 of their turnovers over the first 20 minutes and trailed 41-27 at the break.
Quinnipiac cut it to 12 on a Monique Lee lay-up out of the break but the Bobcats would come no closer as the SHU lead never fell below 16 and peaked at 27 on the road to the 87-64 victory.
Rubino hit 10-of-16 from the field and five-of-five at the free throw line to go with three assists and three steals. Junior Amanda Pape (Stamford, CT) scored 19, hitting nine-of-10 at the charity stripe. She filled out the stat sheet with six rebounds, five assists and seven steals, tying her career-high. Junior Jasmine Walker (Amityville, NY) added a double double to the mix with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Junior Kerri Burke (Saugus, MA) scored 10 and passed out a season-high nine assists with two steals.
Quinnipiac, 19-7 overall and 14-3 in the league with the loss, got 13 points form Kathleen Neyens and 10 from Erin Kerner. The Bobcats did hold the rebounding advantage, 36-29.
The win vaulted SHU over Quinnipiac in the conference standing and puts them in a first-place tie with Robert Morris at 15-2. The Pioneers hold the tie breaker with Robert Morris thanks to their win over the Colonials back in January. A RMU loss at Quinnipiac on Monday would give SHU the title otherwise the Pioneers will need to win at Monmouth to earn the #1 seed and home court advantage.
Sacred Heart and Monmouth are scheduled to tip-off at 7 pm on Tuesday night.