SHU Pioneers Grind Out 64-50 Senior Day Win over Bryant
Feb. 28, 2009
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (February 28, 2009) - The Sacred Heart Pioneers used matching double doubles from senior Kaitlin Sowinski (Hopkinton, RI) and freshman Callan Taylor (Overland Park, KS) to overcome a poor shooting afternoon en route to a 64-50 win over visiting Bryant on "Senior Day". The Pioneers shot a season-low 30.9% (21-68) but turned 26 Bulldog turnovers into 31 points as they extended their winning streak to 17-straight games. Sowinski finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds while Taylor posted 11 points, 10 boards, four assists and three steals in the win.
The Pioneers (21-7) will close out the regular season on Monday night with a chance to become just the third team in Northeast Conference history to go 18-0. SHU honored their four graduating seniors in Sowinski, Liz Gruber (Staten Island, NY), Stephanie Ryan (Coram, NY) and Khalia Cain (Manchester, CT) before today's game, their final regular season game in the William H. Pitt Center. The foursome along with the rest of the #1 seeded Pioneers are set to host the eight team NEC Tournament next weekend, March 8th and 9th, as well as the championship game on March 15th if they can advance that far.
Neither team could produce much offense in the early minutes Saturday afternoon as the Pioneers were able to take a 9-0 lead just over seven minutes in thanks to a 0-for-eight start to the game for Bryant. Bulldog junior Kelsey O'Keefe snapped her team's scoreless streak at 12:20 with a jumper on her way to a game-high 20 point afternoon. The Pioneers didn't far much better in the early going, shooting one-for-12 from behind the arc in the game's first 10 minutes.
The Bulldogs (11-17) pulled with 16-11 at the 9:30 mark as Courtney Schermerhorn buried a three from the right corner. The Pioneers responded with a quick 7-0 spurt to go up 21-11 and made it a 14-3 run by the 5:26 mark to lead 30-14. Taylor and sophomore Alisa Apo (Freehold, NJ) buried threes with Apo hitting a runner at 5:26 to force the Bulldogs to spend a timeout. Bryant got a three-point play from Jamie Campbell just before the half to cut the lead to 38-24 at the break. The Pioneers finished just four of 18 from behind the arc in the first half.
Bryant stormed out of the locker room and posted a 10-2 run to cut the lead down to six, 40-34, to open the second half. O'Keefe scored her team's first eight points of the half including a three and an old fashioned three-point play. The Pioneers got a three-point play from Apo and responded by pushing the lead back to double digits, 49-37, on back to back Sowinski lay-ins with 10:25 on the clock. The Bulldogs put together another spurt to cut the lead to eight as O'Keefe hit from downtown at 8:18.
The Pioneers put the game away for the next seven minutes as Apo got the Pioneers started on a 12-2 run with a jumper in the lane. Cain buried a three and ended the rally with a jumper at 3:47 to give SHU a 61-43 lead on the way to their 17th-straight win.
In addition to Taylor and Sowinski's double digit efforts, Apo finished with a team-high 15 points with four assists, two blocks and a steal. Cain tallied 10 points and matched her career-high with five steals. The Pioneers shot a season-low 25.0% from three, taking a season-high 28 shots from behind the arc hitting just seven.