Pioneers Win Double Overtime Thriller, 99-94, at Monmouth

Pioneers Win Double Overtime Thriller, 99-94, at Monmouth
WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ (February 26, 2004) - The Sacred Heart women's basketball team clinched second place in the Northeast Conference final standings with a thrilling 99-94 double overtime win over Monmouth University Thursday night. Senior Ashley Kohl (Palmyra, PA) led the way hitting six threes for the second straight game en route to a season-high 21 points in the win. The Pioneers, winners of four-straight, improve to 19-7 overall and 13-4 in the conference.

Both teams battled back and forth over the first nine minutes, trading the lead four times. Monmouth's Erin Winston put the Hawks up 19-16 with an old-fashioned three-point play at 10:51. The Pioneers took the lead right back two minutes later on a Kohl three and ran off a 18-4 run to take an 11-point lead with three minutes to play in the half. Monmouth's Jewonda Bright single handily tried to get the Hawks back in it, scoring the final seven Monmouth points of the half but the Pioneer offense never faltered and held the lead at eleven, 41-30, at the break.

Kohl picked up right where she left off Monday night, burying five of six from behind the arc in the first half. SHU shot seven-of-11 from long range over the first 20 minutes while forcing 17 Monmouth turnovers.

Sacred Heart's lead grew to as many as 14 in the second half as it appeared the Pioneers would run away with the win. The Hawks had other plans as Bright began to lead her team back into it. Down fourteen, 58-44, at the 13:22 mark, Monmouth began to slice away at what seemed an insurmountable lead and used an 11-2 run to cut the lead to five with just under 10 minutes to play. The Pioneers came right back and got the lead to nine, 66-57, on a free throw apiece by Jasmine Walker (Amityville, NY), Colleen Duggan (Newington, CT) and Amanda Pape (Stamford, CT) followed by Kohl's sixth trey of the game.

Bright hit one of two at the line to cut it to eight but Pape followed with a pair of free throws at the 5:35 mark that gave SHU a 10-point advantage. Bright once again had the answer for Monmouth hitting back-to-back lay-ups on consecutive trips down the floor. Pape hit two more from the line but Liz Whalen buried a three to get the Hawks to within five. SHU's Kate Maher was fouled on the next possession, but made just one of two free throws to put the Pioneers up six, 71-65 with 3:15 to play. Bright hit another lay-up on Monmouth's next possession and hit two free throws after a Pape missed jumper that got the Hawks to within two, 71-69, with 2:41 to go.

A Pioneer turnover on their next possession gave Monmouth a chance to tie and once again the Hawks went to their star center and she delivered hitting a lay-up to knot it at 71. SHU took the lead back with on a Maher free throw but Monmouth couldn't answer, missing thee-straight shots. The Pioneers went to the line twice more, but Pape and Shannon Quinlivan hit just one free throw each as Sacred Heart clung to a three-point lead, 74-71, with seven seconds to play. Monmouth had one last desperation shot left as they quickly moved the ball up the court and found Niamh Dwyer who sank a three with just under two seconds on the clock to send the game to overtime.

The first extra session saw the Hawks build a three point lead half way through. The Pioneers came right back and grabbed a three point lead of their own, 83-80, with 1:21 to go. Monmouth once again battled back, getting to within one, 85-84 with 45 seconds to go. Set up for some more last second heroics, Monmouth's Courtney Lumpkin banged a jumper with three seconds on the clock to put the Hawks up one, 86-84. The Pioneers quickly got the ball up court and Rubino drew a charging call on Whalen with two second on the clock. She went to the line with a chance to give SHU the lead, but hit just one of two and the two teams headed for a second overtime.

It was all Pioneers in the second overtime, outscoring Monmouth 13-8 over the final five minutes and hitting six of eight from the free throw line. SHU got right out of the gates on a 7-0 run with Pape leading the way with two lay-ups and a free throw. Lumpkin banged a three to cut it to four but that was as close as Monmouth would come the rest of the way.

Pape turned in a team-high 23 on 11-of-14 shooting at the free throw line to match Kohl's 21. Rubino added 22 to mark the first time at least two SHU players scored over 20 points apiece since January of 2001. Junior center Colleen Duggan chipped in with 11 to round out the Pioneers in double figures.

Bright had a career night in her final home appearance, pouring in a game-high 36 with 15 rebounds. Courtney Lumpkin finished with 24 while Lasheena Martin and Dwyer rounded out the Hawk double figure scorers with 11 and 10 each. Martin also had a double double pulling down 14 boards. The Hawks held a distinct advantage on the boards, pulling down 61 rebounds to SHU's 38. Monmouth was hurt all night by turnovers, finishing with 41 in the loss.

Tonight game marked the first double overtime game for the Pioneers since a loss to Iona, 71-70, back on March 9, 1979. The win also marked the 70th in the four-year careers of seniors Kohl, Maher and Quinlivan.

Sacred Heart closes out the regular season this Monday night, March 1st hosting Mount St. Mary's as the Pioneers try to finish the year a perfect 14-0 in the William H. Pitt Center.