Nov. 25, 2007
FAIRFIELD, CT (November 25, 2007) - Sacred Heart got 20 points from junior Kaitlin Sowinski (Hopkinton, RI) and 12 points apiece from senior Lisa Moray (Hopewell Junction, NY) and freshman Maggie Cosgrove (Andover, MA) as the Pioneers notched their first win of the 2007-08 season in their home opener, 70-52 over Binghamton University Sunday afternoon. The Pioneers never trailed the Bearcats while shooting a season-best 50.0% (24-48) in the win.
"We've been playing real hard, just not well and it was nice to put the two together today," stated SHU head coach Ed Swanson. "We made shots, we executed what we wanted to and it was a great win for this team and the program."
Sowinski ignited the Pioneers right off the tip, blocking a shot on Binghamton's first possession and sticking a lay-up at the other end for a 2-0 lead SHU never looked back from. The Pioneers worked their lead to seven, 15-8, midway through the half but the Bearcats were able to hang around thanks to 11 first half points from Laine Kurpniece.
Binghamton (0-4) twice cut the SHU lead to just one, both times thanks to Juta Jahilo. The senior forward buried a pair of free throws at 4:28 to pull her team to 21-20 and after a Khalia Cain (Manchester, CT) jumper pushed the Pioneer lead back to three, Jahilo buried a jumper in transition to get within 24-23 at 2:53. The SHU offense put together a late spurt to 8-2 spurt with three's from Cosgrove and Moray to go back up seven, 32-25, but Kurpniece ended the half with a lay-up and a pair of free throws to send the teams to the locker room at 32-29, Sacred Heart.
Both teams shot the ball well over the first 20 minutes with the Pioneers hitting 47.6% (10-21) and the Bearcats shooting 45.5% (11-24). Binghamton was hurt by eight turnovers that turned into 13 SHU points at the other end.
The second half opened with the Bearcats cutting it to just one, 32-31, for the third time but that would be as close as they would come as the Pioneers used a 13-2 run over the next five minutes to open their first double digit lead of the afternoon. Moray and Cosgrove again struck from long range and junior Stephanie Ryan (Coram, NY) made a steal and lay-up to give SHU a 45-33 lead with 14:54 on the clock.
The Pioneers (1-3) put the game out of reach over the next 10 minutes, ripping off a 20-12 jaunt that put their lead at 65-45 with 5:53 to left to play. SHU shot 52.9% (14-27) in the second half including five-of-11 from three. Defensively, the Pioneers clamped down, forcing 11 more Bearcat miscues while holding them to 33.3% (8-24) shooting in the half.
Sowinski piled up big numbers once again to lead Sacred Heart, hitting the 20-point mark for the second-straight game. The junior center finished seven-of-nine from the field and six-of-nine at the line while collection four rebounds, four assists, three blocks and one steal in 29 minutes of action.
Cosgrove turned in her first double-digit performance of her young career, hitting four-of-five from behind the three-point arc on the way to her 12 point day. She added a team-high seven rebounds, two assists and a steal to her totals. Moray's four three's went with four assists, four boards and a steal. Ryan continued to put up solid all-around numbers with six points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals.
"Kaitlin [Sowinski] carried us for the first three games and we've been trying to find our identity," commented Swanson. "We had 15 assists on 24 baskets and that's something I like to see. It's going to take time, but more people stepped up today, especially against a team like Binghamton who is dominated by seniors."
Kurpniece finished with 12 points and seven rebounds for the Bearcats while senior Brianna Thompson came off the bench for 10 points.
The Pioneers continue their four-game home stand this Wednesday, November 28th when they play host to the University at Albany at 7:00 pm in the William H. Pitt Center. The game will be broadcast live on WICC 600 am.