Pioneers Open NEC Play at Fairleigh Dickinson
Dec. 4, 2009
Sacred Heart Pioneers (3-3, 0-0 NEC) vs. Fairleigh Dickinson Knights (2-4, 0-0 NEC)
Game #7 - Saturday, December 5, 2009 - 2:00 pm - Teaneck, N.J. - Rothman Center (4,500)
Radio: None Multimedia: Live Stats
The Storyline... The Sacred Heart Pioneers travel to Fairleigh Dickinson Saturday afternoon to open the 2009-10 Northeast Conference portion of their schedule. The Pioneers are riding a 21-game winning streak against NEC competition as they open the conference season facing the Knights for the second-straight year. Sacred Heart is 9-1 in their previous 10 NEC openers and have won five-straight as they open their 11th season of play in the league. The Pioneers are looking to bounce back after seeing a 13-point halftime lead slip away in a 68-53 loss to Hartford on Tuesday night. FDU comes in off a 53-44 loss at Army on Wednesday.
Series... Sacred Heart leads the all-time series, 16-1 and has won 12-straight over the Knights. The Pioneers took the only meeting between the two schools last season, winning 81-45 at home. Fairleigh Dickinson’s lone win in the series came during the 2001-02 campaign when they posted a 64-60 win in the Rothman Center. The two teams have met once in the post season, an 83-55 Pioneer win in the opening round of the 2005-06 NEC Tournament. SHU is 9-0 at home against the Knights and 7-1 in Teaneck, NJ.
SHU in the Northeast Conference... Sacred Heart is in its 11th season of play in the Northeast Conference. The Pioneers have posted a 138-42 conference record in their 10 years, having never finished lower then tied for third in the final league standings. The Pioneers are coming off their second NEC Championship along with a 21-0 run through the league last season. SHU won their first championship during the 2005-06 season, running off a 26-5 record and 16-2 NEC mark. Head Coach Swanson is the leader in all-time NEC wins at 138 victories.
The Coaches... Ed Swanson (SHU ‘89) is in his 20th season as head coach at his alma mater. Swanson posts a 325-224 record in his career at Sacred Heart. His teams have a 199-103 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 (325). He has been named the NEC Coach of the Year three times and is the all-time leader in regular season NEC wins (138). Peter Cinella (Western New England ‘90) is in his third season on the Fairleigh Dickinson bench. He has led the Knights to a 25-41 record over his three years. Cinella came to FDU after 14 years at American International College where he was the winningest coach in that program’s history and led the school to nine NCAA Tournaments, two trips to the Elite Eight and an appearance in the 2006 NCAA Championship game.
Scouting the Knights... The Fairleigh Dickinson Knights are 2-4 on the season with wins over Howard, 76-57, and Rider, 82-77, on their ledger. The Knights are coming off a 9-9 NEC season last year where they finished sixth in the standings. FDU was picked to again finish sixth in this year’s NEC Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The Knights returned three starters to this year’s club led by guards Mariyah Laury and Alyssa Mayrose. Laury is the NEC’s top-scorer averaging 17.0 points per game. Mayrose ranks 5th in the league at 14.5 ppg while Jordan Sykes is also in double figures at 11.5 ppg.
Last Meeting with Fairleigh Dickinson... Sacred Heart’s Alisa Apo led four players in double figures with 16 points and four assists as the Pioneers posted an 81-45 win over visiting Fairleigh Dickinson in the only meeting between both teams last December. The Pioneers outscored the Knights 43-22 in the second half and shot 53.4% (31-58) from the field in the win. SHU led 25-19 with just under four minutes to play in the half and used a 13-4 run to push the lead to double digits heading into the locker room up 38-23. Sacred Heart’s lead hit the 20-point mark by 16:43 and the closest the Knights could get was down 16, thanks to five-straight makes at the free throw line to trail 46-30 at 14:49. From there it was all Sacred Heart as a 15-5 run made it a 27-point lead with just over 10 minutes to go as they coasted home for the victory. Apo finished the afternoon hitting five-of-nine from the field, two-of-four behind the arc and four-of-four at the line. Stephanie Ryan finished with 11 points and three steals followed by Kaitlin Sowinski who hit five-of-eight for 10 points to go with six rebounds, a block and an assist. Liz Gruber came off the bench to net a season-high 11 points, hitting three-of-four from behind the arc. The Pioneers scored 19-points on the fast break and out rebounded the Knights 47-28 in the win. Fairleigh Dickinson shot just 23.6% (13-55) and 18.8% (3-16) from three in the loss. FDU committed 21 turnovers that SHU converted into 27 points on the other end. F
Last Time Out... The Harford Hawks shot a blistering 67.9% (19-28) in the second half on the way to erasing a 13-point Sacred Heart halftime lead and post a 68-53 win Tuesday night. SHU led 34-21 at the break but the Hawks used a 17-5 run to open the second stanza on the way to outscoring the Pioneers 47-19 in the second half. SHU’s Alisa Apo led the Pioneers with 14 points, five assists and four rebounds. The Pioneers played a near perfect first half, shooting 50.0% (14-28) from the field, hitting four-of-six from behind the arc. On the flip side, Hartford made just eight-of-28 (.286) and one-of-13 from three to trail by 13 at the break. Up 26-18 with six minutes left, the Pioneers closed the half with an 8-3 spurt with Apo hitting a pull up jumper to beat the halftime horn. The second half was all Hartford as the Hawks burst out of the locker room and opened with a jumper from Jackie Smith and a three from Alex Hall. The Pioneers briefly slowed the Hawks momentum with a Kiley Evans jumper and a Maggie Cosgrove three to keep the lead in double digits, 39-28. SHU’s lead was short lived however as a 13-0 run over the next five and a half minutes gave the Hawks a lead they would never give up. The Hawks opened a 10-point lead at the five minute mark, 58-48, with Diana Delva scoring 11 of her game-high 17 points on the game-deciding 13-2 run. Delva finished eight-of-nine for 17 points with five rebounds, two blocks and a steal. Erica Beverly made six-of-10 from the field for 13 points with seven boards, four blocks and two assists in the win. Mary Silva netted 13 off the bench as the Hawk reserves outscored the Pioneer reserves 24-5. SHU’s Cosgrove hit five-of-eight including three three’s for 13 points. Evans went for 11 points and pulled down eight rebounds in the loss. The Pioneers shot just 29.6% (8-27) in the second half. Pioneers
NEC Streaking... The Pioneers carry a 21-game winning streak against Northeast Conference opponents in their match-up with Fairleigh Dickinson. SHU ran through the NEC scheduled undefeated last season, 18-0, and picked up three more wins in the conference tournament. Their 18-0 mark matched that of the 2003-04 Saint Francis (PA) Red Flash and 1993-94 Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers as the only schools to play a perfect 18-game league slate. All three teams went on to claim the NEC Championships those seasons. Both the Red Flash and the Mount went on to win 24-straight against NEC competition into the following seasons. xxxxxx