Nov. 20, 2009
Sacred Heart Pioneers (0-2, 0-0 NEC) vs. Harvard Crimson (2-0, 0-0 Ivy League)
Game #3 - Saturday, November 21, 2009 - 2:00 pm - Fairfield, Connecticut - William H. Pitt Center (2,000)
Radio: None Multimedia: Live Video; Gametracker
The Storyline... The Sacred Heart Pioneers play host to the Harvard Crimson Saturday afternoon looking for their first win in 2009-10. The Pioneers are 0-2 to start the season and are coming off a 50-49 loss at home to Villanova on Monday night. The Crimson have jumped out at 2-0 thanks to a pair of home wins over Boston College, 82-81, and Maine, 72-56. SHU’s Callan Taylor is coming off her first double double effort of the season after an 11 point, 10 rebound night against the Wildcats. Taylor has been the Pioneers leading scorer in both games this season.
Series... Harvard leads the all-time series, 2-0. The two teams met for the first time during the 1998-99 season with the Crimson posting a 73-70 win in the William H. Pitt Center. The following season, SHU took part in the Harvard Invitational, meeting the Crimson in the consolation game. Harvard posted an 83-50 win at home.
Pioneers vs. the Ivy League... The Pioneers are 19-16 all-time versus teams from the Ivy League. SHU has faced every team in the league with the exception of the University of Pennsylvania. SHU has three match-ups with Ivy schools this season with, Columbia, Harvard and Yale on the schedule. The Pioneers have faced in state rival Yale the most of any school, holding an 9-3 series lead including eight-straight wins. The Pioneers hold a 3-1 lead over Princeton and are even with Columbia, 4-4 and Brown, 3-3. SHU is 0-2 against the Harvard Crimson, Big Green of Dartmouth and 0-1 against Cornell.
The Coaches... Ed Swanson (SHU ‘89) is in his 20th season as head coach at his alma mater. Swanson posts a 322-223 record in his career at Sacred Heart. His teams have a 196-102 record since joining the Division I ranks in 1999-00. Swanson was inducted in to the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009 and is the program’s longest tenured coach and all-time leader in coaching wins (322). He has been named the NEC Coach of the Year three times and is the all-time leader in regular season NEC wins (138). Kathy Delaney-Smith (Bridgewater State ‘71) is in her 28th season at the helm of the Harvard Crimson. Delaney-Smith, the winningest Ivy League women’s basketball coach of all-time, owns a record of 421-298, with a 247-109 record in Ivy League play. Included in those marks are eight 20-win seasons, 11 Ivy titles, and a .500 record or better in 20 of the last 21 campaigns, and six trips to the NCAA tournament in the last decade.
Scouting the Crimson... The Harvard Crimson are off to a 2-0 start to their season with a pair of home wins on their ledger. The Crimson opened the season with an 82-81 victory over Boston College followed by a 72-56 win over Maine last time out. Junior Emma Markley was named Ivy League Player of the Week after scoring 17 of her 23 points in the second half, including the game-winning free throw with 15 seconds left in the win over BC. Markley, a second-team All-Ivy pick last season, leads a cast or returners that included three starters to this year’s club. Sophomore Brogan Berry also returns after being named the Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 2008-09. The Crimson were picked second in the annual Ivy League Preseason Media Poll, garnering five first place votes. Harvard is coming off a 19-win season and trip to the WNIT a year ago.
Last Meeting with Harvard... Harvard 20 points from Laela Sturdy and a double double, 16 points and 18 rebounds from Melissa Johnson on the way to an 83-50 win over Sacred Heart in the consolation game of the Harvard Invitational on November 28, 1999. The Crimson shot 44.4% (28-63) from the field and held a 52-35 rebounding edge in the win. The Pioneers got 16 points on six-of-11 shooting from Brooke Rutnik in the loss. Rutnik also grabbed seven rebounds before fouling out. SHU shot just 29.3% (17-58) from the field and turned it over 20 times in the loss. Leslie Newhard scored eight points while Heather Coonradt came off the bench to pull down seven rebounds for the Pioneers. Sturdy’s 20 point afternoon came on six-of-11 shooting and six-for-seven at the line. She added seven rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals to her line. Johnson posted four blocks to go with her double double. Coming off the bench for the Crimson, Kate Ides scored nine points while Sarah Johnson had seven points, three rebounds, three assists and a steal in the win.
Last Time Out... The Sacred Heart women’s basketball team turned in tough defensive effort holding Villanova to 34.6% (18-52) shooting but 19 Pioneer turnovers, two in the final minute, helped the Wildcats escape with a 50-49 win Monday night. The loss snapped a Pioneer 12-game home winning streak in the William H. Pitt Center. Sophomore Callan Taylor recorded her first double double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds in the loss. A strong shooting effort in the first half, 55.0% (11-20) was negated by 11 turnovers over the first 20 minutes, leaving the Pioneers up just one at the break, 26-25. The Wildcats had the early hot hand, hitting three-of-four from behind the arc in the game’s opening minutes. Despite solid shooting in the first half, SHU struggled to find their offense at times in the second half, making just seven-of-21. The Pioneers lead hit its high mark at 33-28 in the first 1:20 of the second half but the Wildcats would battle back and used an 11-0 run to take their biggest lead at 41-35. The Pioneers held Villanova scoreless over the final 4:15 but couldn’t complete the comeback. SHU twice had a chance to take the lead with under a minute left but the Wildcats forced Alisa Apo into two turnovers to preserve the win. Villanova took advantage of the 19 Pioneer miscues to the tune of 21 points at the other end. The Wildcats hoisted up 31 three’s on the night, making 10 (32.3%). Laura Sweeney came off the bench to score 11 points while Tia Grant netted 10 in the win. SHU’s Lindsey Gibson finished with a career-high nine points with six rebounds and two blocks. Apo’s 12 points came on just three-of-13 shooting. While she did dish out six assists she posted a career-high nine turnovers in the loss.
Slow Starts... The Pioneers are off an 0-2 start for the third-straight season heading into Saturday’s match-up with Harvard. SHU opened last season 0-5, their first 0-5 start under head coach Ed Swanson. The 2007-08 season got off to an 0-3 start before the Pioneers picked-up their first win. The Pioneers have been 0-3 to start a season four times under Coach Swanson (2008-09, 2007-08, 2000-01, 1997-98).
Sacred Heart Signs Three for 2010-11... Sacred Heart head women’s basketball coach Ed Swanson announced that Ericka Norman (Chino Hills, CA / Chino Hills H.S.), Enjoli Bland (Queen Creek, AZ / Basha H.S.) and Elise Lorenz (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA / Santa Margarita Catholic H.S.) have signed National Letters of Intent during the early signing period and will join the Pioneers in the fall of 2010. Norman is a 5’9", point guard out of Chino Hills High School where she averaged 17.6 points, 5.2 steals, 4.8 assists and 4.5 rebounds last season as a junior. Bland is a 6’2", forward/center from Basha High School where she led the 5A Central Region in rebounding with 286 (8.9 rpg) as a junior. Lorenz is a 6’3" center from Santa Margarita Catholic High School. She is entering her fourth season on the varsity squad after averaging 7.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game last season.