March 1, 2008
FAIRFIELD, CT (March 1, 2008) - The Sacred Heart Pioneers sprinted out of the gates to a 28-9 lead midway through the first half and never looked back running away with a 79-57 win over visiting Central Connecticut Saturday afternoon. The Pioneers shot a blistering 65.5% (19-29) in the first half and led 44-23 at the break en route to their 19th win on the season and a 14-3 Northeast Conference mark with one regular season game to go.
Sacred Heart (19-9, 14-3 NEC) opened the game up 7-0 and ran that to a 12-3 lead four minute in. The Pioneers kept their offense rolling as three's by freshmen Alisa Apo (Freehold, NJ) and Maggie Cosgrove (Andover, MA) kicked the lead to 22-7 at the 13 minute mark. Leading 30-13 at the 7:41 mark, the Pioneers ripped off a 14-1 run over the next four minutes to take their biggest lead of the afternoon at 30 points, 44-14.
Freshman Lindsay Greenlee (Cedarburg, WI) hit a jumper at 3:43 to give SHU the 30-point advantage but that would be the Pioneers final field goal of the half. The Blue Devils (4-24, 3-14 NEC) used a 9-0 run to close the half but Sacred Heart would still head to the locker room with a 21-point lead, 44-23.
Central Connecticut carried some of that momentum over into the opening minutes of the second half and used an 11-4 run to force a SHU timeout with 15:57 to go. The 14-point margin was the closest the Blue Devils would get the rest of the way as the Pioneer quickly responded with 9-2 spurt that bounced the lead back to 23, 57-34, and they would close it out from there.
Junior Stephanie Ryan (Coram, NY) was the high-scorer on the day, turning in her team-leading ninth double double of the season with 19 points and 10 rebounds. She also added three assists and two steals while hitting seven-of-11 from the floor. Junior center Kaitlin Sowinski (Hopkinton, RI) scored 17, missing just once (7-8), but saw her streak of 28 games with at least one block shot ended in the win. Sowinski's streak dated back to last season's championship game at Robert Morris. She leads the team with 92 blocks on the year, a mark that has her ranked 4th in the nation. Sowinski will head into Monday night's regular season finale needing 18 points to reach 1,000 for her career.
Junior guar Khalia Cain (Manchester, CT) turned in a 16-point afternoon, hitting six-of-10 from the field and two-of-three behind the line. She also picked up four assists and four steals. Apo tallied 12 in the win and tied her career-high with six assists.
As a team, the Pioneers shot a season-high 54.7% (29-53), also hitting 50.0% (9-18) from behind the arc. The Pioneers 22 assists also marked a season-high, eclipsing the 21 they had against Central Connecticut on the road back in December.
Sacred Heart closes the regular season on Monday night hosting Robert Morris on "Senior Night". Tip-off is at 7:00 pm.