November 25, 2008

Apo Nets Career High 31 points but Pioneers Fall 77-75 to Lehigh

Nov. 25, 2008

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FAIRFIELD, Conn. (November 25, 2008) - Sacred Heart sophomore Alisa Apo (Freehold, NJ) poured in a career-high 31 points as the Pioneers battled back from down 14-points in the first half but came up just short in a 77-75 loss to Lehigh in their home opener Tuesday night. Freshman Callan Taylor (Overland Park, KS) recorded her first career double double with 21 points and 10 rebounds in the loss. The Mountain Hawks got 21 points from guard Erica Prosser to improve to 4-1 while SHU falls to 0-4 to start a season for the first time since the 1984-85 campaign.

The Pioneers (0-4) had the hot hand early on as both teams traded the lead four times over the first 10 minutes. With Lehigh up 13-12 at the 12:31 mark, Taylor scored back-to-back buckets to put the Pioneers up 16-13 with 11:26 on the clock. From there the Sacred Heart offense hit a funk as leading scorer Kaitlin Sowinski (Hopkinton, RI) was forced to the bench in foul trouble.

The Mountain Hawks (4-1) responded by ripping off a 16-0 run over the games next eight minutes before an Apo free throw ended the drought. Lehigh's lead hit its high mark at 14 points, 31-17, with 3:27 left before the half.

The second half saw a different Pioneer offense take the court as SHU shot 57.1% (16-28) from the floor and twice battled back from double digit deficits. Taylor helped the Pioneers cut the lead down to eight, 40-32, three minutes in thanks to a three and a lay-in but Lehigh responded pushing their lead back to 11 by the 15:50 mark. SHU sliced it down to a four-point advantage thanks to a 7-2 spurt but lost Sowinski for good at the eight minute mark to her fifth foul.

Lehigh extended their lead back to double figures by the 7:32 mark as Prosser hit a three followed by a pair of Haly Crites free throws for a 60-48 advantage. Sacred Heart proved game once again as Apo helped SHU cut the lead back down to four at 66-62 and then to two under a minute to play with a three, 73-71. Needing a stop, the Pioneers couldn't get one as Tricia Smith hit a runner in the lane to extend it back to four and Courtney Dentler hit a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left to keep it a four-point game. Apo pulled SHU to within two with her final hoop of the game with one tick left on the clock.

Apo finished the game nine-of-16 from the field and four-of-six behind the arc. She hit nine-of-12 at the line and had four assists, three rebounds, a steal and a block. Taylor's first career double double came on hitting seven-of-11 from the field and two-of-three from behind the line.

The Pioneers out shot the Mountain Hawks on the night, 46.2% (24-52) to 44.6% (25-56) but were out rebounded 39-30. Lehigh had 15 offensive caroms leading to 15 second chance points.

SHU is back in action this Sunday, November 30th when they travel to Manhattan College for a 2 pm tip-off.

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