March 6, 2010
LORETTO, Pa. (March 6, 2010) - Sacred Heart junior Alisa Apo (Freehold, NJ) finished with a game-high 26 points but the Pioneers couldn't overcome a 21.8% (13-57) shooting night falling to Central Connecticut, 63-51, in the opening round of the Northeast Conference Tournament Saturday night. CCSU's Justina Udenze posted a double double with 17 points and 18 rebounds to lead her team to the semifinal round Sunday afternoon at Saint Francis (PA).
The Blue Devils (11-17) dominated on the glass, pulling down 51 boards to the Pioneer's 36. Central pulled away in the second half using a 12-2 run to go up 55-44 with 5:56 left en route to the win. The Pioneers twice cut the Blue Devil lead to just a point but couldn't get a stop as CCSU used a pair of three point plays to halt the SHU runs.
Sacred Heart (19-10) senior Lindsey Gibson (Mechanicville, NY) scored seven points and pulled down a career-high 12 rebounds. The Blue Devils held SHU's Callan Taylor (Overland Park, KS) and Maggie Cosgrove (Andover, MA) to just four points each.
The Pioneers (19-10) led 8-6 in the opening minutes thanks to a pair of early Apo makes and a freshman Kiley Evans (Cazenovia, NY) three. SHU's offensive woes took over from there as the Pioneers saw five minute stretch without a field goal put them in an 18-13 hole with 9:41 left as Leanne Crockett and Emily Rose buried consecutive three's. Apo tried to pull Sacred Heart back, cutting the deficit to 22-19 at 6:28 with a pair of three's of her own.
Apo's second three proved to be the Pioneers last field goal of the first half but SHU stayed within striking distance thanks to 12-of-18 at the free throw line in the first half. With the Blue Devils up 27-25 with 1:43 left before the break, CCSU got a three from Rachel Chandler and with just 10 ticks left, Kerrianne Dugan got fouled on a three attempt and hit all three to head to the locker room up 33-27.
SHU opened the second half with a quick 7-2 run, capped by an Apo three at 17:52 to pull the Pioneers within 34-33 and force a CCSU timeout. The Blue Devils quickly answered with a 7-0 spurt for a 41-34 advantage with 15:41 on the clock. The Pioneers made another run at the lead, pulling back within one as Apo hit on back-to-back jumpers followed by an Evans lay-in underneath to cut it to 43-42 with 11:50 left, forcing another Central timeout.
Central took control for good over the next eight minutes, holding the Pioneers to just a pair of free throws as they built their lead to 13, 57-44. In addition to Udenze's double double, Leanne Crockett matched her with a 17 points and 13 boards.