Nov. 17, 2006
FAIRFIELD, CT (November 17, 2006) - The Sacred Heart Pioneers built a 12-point lead 12 minutes through the first half but couldn't hold on as the La Salle Explorers got 26 points and 17 rebounds from senior Crista Ricketts on the way to a 70-60 win in the William H. Pitt Center Friday night. The loss halts a 15-game home winning streak for the Pioneers as they drop to 1-2 on the year. La Salle stays undefeated at 3-0.
SHU used a 7-0 run to open the game with sophomore Kaitlin Sowinski (Hopkinton, RI) tossing in four of her team-high 14 points. The Explorers responded by cutting it to 9-7 but a 17-7 run by Sacred Heart over six minute span gave the Pioneers a 12-point lead, 26-14, with 8:23 on the clock.
From there the SHU offense hit a wall while La Salle exploded, outscoring the Pioneers 24-5 the rest of the half to take a 38-31 lead. Junior Alyse Hoover buried a three that started a 10-0 run at the eight minute mark and a pair of junior Melaine Gibbons free throws tied the game at 26-26 with 5:15 on the clock. A three by junior Lisa Moray (Hopewell Junction, NY) gave the Pioneers back the lead on the next possession but Hoover quickly responded with a three of her own to tie the game.
Sowinski converted a lay-up at the four minute mark that game SHU what proved to be their final lead of the night at 31-29 and it was all Explorers from that point, as Rickets scored six of the final nine points of the half.
The Explorers kept their foot on the pedal in the second half using a 10-4 run in the first five minutes to build their largest lead of the game, 48-35. The Pioneers dug their heels in and twice were able to cut the lead to just three points. Trailing 55-48 at the 7:35 mark, a Moray jumper followed by a pair of senior Amanda Pape (Stamford, CT) free throws put the Pioneers in striking distance down 55-52. La Salle promptly went inside to Ricketts who drew the foul and drained both free throws to nudge the lead back to five.
After the two teams traded possessions, senior point guard Kerri Burke (Saugus, MA) just beat the shot clock with a slashing take to the hoop to pull the Pioneers to three once more, 57-54, with 5:10 left. The SHU full court press forced a La Salle turnover on the inbounds and following the media timeout the Pioneers went inside to Sowinski who drew some contact and got a foul on the way to the hoop.
The sophomore center went to the line with a chance to cut the lead to one but both free throws caromed out with Ricketts pulling down the defensive rebound. Ricketts turned it over but a SHU miss sent the action up court where Hoover buried her third trey of the night. Another SHU miss gave way to a three ball from senior Jenna Graber and the Explorers where up 63-54 with 3:47 left and on the road to the win.
The Explorers went to the free throw line 34 times Friday night, hitting 23. Hoover came off the bench to score 13 points to Ricketts 26. The Explores held a 51-38 rebounding lead.
In addition to Sowinski's 14, three other Pioneers found double digits. Burke, Pape and Moray all had 10 points in the loss. Senior Jasmine Walker (Amityville, NY) pulled down a season-high 16 rebounds in the loss. Sowinski added seven rebounds, three assists and three blocks to her totals.
SHU shot just 31.0%, hitting just 22 of 71 shots and just six of 23 from behind the arc.
The Pioneers are back on the road for the next three games, traveling to three Ivy League schools. The Pioneers will take on Brown University Tuesday, November 21st in a 7 pm start.