March 8, 2008
BROOKLYN, N.Y. (March 8, 2008) - The Sacred Heart Pioneers battled their way back from a 14-point halftime deficit to take a three-point lead midway through the second half but couldn't complete the comeback as the Monmouth Hawks came away with a 75-70 win in the opening round of the 2008 Northeast Conference Tournament at Long Island University Saturday night. The Pioneers end their season at 19-11 overall, getting knocked out in the quarterfinals for the first time in four years.
Monmouth burst out to a 15-2 lead and a 21-9 lead midway through the first half and led 41-27 at the halftime horn, the Pioneers biggest deficit at the break this season. The Pioneers shot out of the locker room and used a 15-5 run to cut it to 46-44 six minutes in. SHU completed the comeback at 10:35 tying it a 52-52.
The Pioneers (19-11) twice led by three, jumping in front 55-52 on a Kaitlin Sowinski (Hopkinton, RI) three-point play and then again at 7:47 on a Maggie Cosgrove (Andover, MA) three. SHU could never extend the lead however and the Hawks made their final move, using an 8-0 run under five minutes to play that featured a pair of Jennifer Bender offensive put backs that gave her team a 68-60 lead and they never looked back, snapping a seven-game Pioneer winning streak in the series.
Freshman Alisa Apo (Freehold, NJ) led the Pioneers with 20 points, six rebounds and five assists in the loss. Sowinski finished with 18 points and came up just short of their 10th double double with nine boards. Sowinski became the 13th player in Pioneer history to eclipse the 1,000 point mark for her career, coming into the night needing just two points to accomplish the feat. The Pioneers finished the game shooting 42.4% (25-59).
Bender led the Hawks (11-19) with 20 points and nine rebounds as they move on to face Robert Morris in the semifinal round on Sunday.