March 3, 2007
NEC QUARTERFINAL #3 Sacred Heart University 70, #6 Mount St. Mary's 67
FAIRFIELD, CT (March 3, 2007) - Senior forward Amanda Pape (Stamford, CT) scored a game-high 24 points and became the first player in the Sacred Heart University history, and third in Northeast Conference annals to reach 2,000 career points, helping the #3 seeded Pioneers defeat #6 Mount St. Mary's 70-67 in an NEC quarter-final game Saturday afternoon. The win was the 13th straight for the Pioneers over the Mountaineers.
The Pioneers took an early 12-6 thanks to inside buckets from Kaitlin Sowinski (Hopkinton, RI) and Jasmine Walker (Amityville, NY). A 13-0 run by the Mountaineers, capped by a slashing lay-up by Tiffany Green (Arlington, VA) gave the Mount a 19-12 lead midway through the half. A three by Ashley Liller (Oakland, MD) with 8:40 left in half opened up a 24-14 lead for The Mount.
A three-point play by Walker with 6:30 left cut the Mountaineer lead to 26-21. Pape cut it to three with a pair of free throws with 5:50 to go. She gave the Pioneers the lead back at 29-28 with 1:30 left after a steal and breakaway lay-up. Lay-ups by Dita Krumberga and Liller in the final minute allowed the Mountaineers to go into the intermission with a 32-29 lead.
Sacred Heart began the second half with an 18-3 run to take control of the game. Pape started the barrage for the Pioneers with a three to tie the score at 32-32. Senior Kerri Burke (Saugus, MA) nailed a three with 18:30 left to give SHU a 35-32 lead. A three-point play by Walker with 17:15 left gave the Pioneers a 40-34 edge.
A Pape basket with 15:20 left in the game put SHU up 47-35. She gave the Pioneers their biggest lead with back-to-back lay-ups off turnovers, making it 59-43 with 10:26 left in the game.
The Mountaineers still had life and used a 16-1 run over five minutes to crawl back into the game. Liller helped The Mount cut the lead to six with 8:30 to go with a three-pointer, followed by a running lay-up. Senior Dita Krumberga (Riga, Latvia) made it 60-56 with 7:45 left with a second-chance basket off a LaToya Butler (Upper Marlboro, MA) miss. Krumberga hit a pair of free throws and the Pioneer lead was just 60-58. A Butler free throw cut it to a single point with just over four minutes left.
Pape was fouled with 3:42 left and calmly sank a pair to put the Pioneers back up three and put her at the 2,000 point mark for her career.
"I didn't even hear them announce it," said Pape. "It doesn't matter if you do that and you're not winning. I want to win."
A trey by Lisa Moray with 2:32 left in the game put Sacred Heart ahead 67-63. Krumberga answered for The Mount with a lay-up, but Walker did the same at the other end.
After a Pioneer miss, Liller missed a three with :51 left that could have given The Mount the lead and Walker was fouled grabbing the rebound. She made one of two, but the Mountaineers turned it over on the other end. Pape missed a runner in the lane with :14 left and the rebound rolled out of bounds, giving the Mountaineers one last shot to tie the game. Green missed a three pointer at the buzzer to allow the Pioneers to escape.
"The play was designed as a 3-pointer for Dita [Krumberga]," said Mount head coach Vanessa Blair. "We wanted to go to the player who paced us all year and who brought us here. We played hard and we fought back. I couldn't be more proud of them."
"They are always a tough match up for us but it was a big win," said SHU head coach Ed Swanson. "Amanda has been battling strep throat, Kerri has had a fever, so now we can rest up and get ready for Tuesday."
"We win games like this because of intangibles," Swanson continued. "Like I said last week, watching Kerri come back from an ACL injury and watching Mary Rush with everything she has gone through this season, it's great to see perseverance like that."
The Pioneers will host #5 seeded Monmouth University in the semifinals on Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m.