Dec. 29, 2009
Sacred Heart Pioneers (8-3, 1-0 NEC) vs. Siena Saints (1-7, 0-0 MAAC)
Game #12 - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - 7:00 pm Loudonville, N.Y. - Alumni Recreation Center (4,000)
Radio: None Multimedia: Gametracker
The Storyline... The Sacred Heart Pioneers will close out the 2009 calendar year and the non-conference portion of their schedule as they head to Siena College on Wednesday night. The Pioneers take a five-game winning streak to face the Saints who have been out of action since loss at James Madison on December 13th. SHU is coming off a 76-67 win over in state rival Yale on Monday night fueled by a 26-point night from junior Alisa Apo. The Pioneers are looking to make it four-straight wins this season against the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with a win over Siena. Sacred Heart returns to Northeast Conference play full time with three league games next week.
Series... This is the first meeting between the Pioneers and Saints.
Pioneers vs. the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference... Since joining the Northeast Conference in 1999-2000, the Pioneers are 8-4 against teams from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Pioneers face Manhattan, Fairfield, Saint Peter’s and Siena this season. SHU has faced Fairfield University more than any other team from the MAAC, trailing in the series, 9-5 but are 1-2 against the Stags as part of the MAAC. Sacred Heart is 3-0 against Saint Peter’s and 2-0 against Rider. The Pioneers are 1-1 against Iona and Manhattan.
The Coaches... Ed Swanson (SHU ‘89) is in his 20th season as head coach at his alma mater. Swanson posts a 330-224 record in his career at Sacred Heart. His teams have a 204-104 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 (330). He has been named the NEC Coach of the Year three times and is the all-time leader in regular season NEC wins (139). Gina Castelli (Canisius ‘86) is in her 20th season at the head of the Siena women’s basketball program. She is the winningest coach in program history and won her 300th game this season. She has led the Saints to seven 20-win seasons during her tenure including a trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2001, the first in program history.
Scouting the Saints... The Siena Saints return to action for the first time since an 85-57 loss to James Madison on December 13th. The Saints are 1-7 on the season with their lone winning coming against rival UAlbany, 65-61. Siena also faced fellow Northeast Conference member Wagner on the road, falling to the Seahawks, 63-55. Senior guard Allie Lindemann is the team’s leading scorer averaging 12.5 points per game. She is also the team’s top-threat from behind the three-point arc, knocking down 20-of-55 on the season (.364). Junior forward Serena Moore also averages double figures at 10.8 points per game while pulling down 5.9 rebounds. She has a team-leading 12 blocks on the season. Senior forward Sarah Fullmer is the Saint’s top-rebounder with 6.6 caroms per game while averaging 9.3 points. The Saints were picked to finish eighth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Preseason Poll.
Last Meeting with Siena... Tonight’s game is the first meeting between the two schools.
Last Time Out... Junior guard Alisa Apo scored a game-high 26 points with eight assists, five rebounds and four steals to lead the Sacred Heart Pioneers past in state rival Yale University, 76-67, Monday night. Sophomore Callan Taylor and freshman Kiley Evans joined Apo in double figures with 18 and 16 points, respectively. The Pioneers notch their fifth-straight win as they improve to 8-3 on the season. Trailing 27-20 at the 10:27 mark of the first half, the Pioneers used a 23-5 run to take an 11-point advantage just before the break, 43-32. Yale pulled to within just one, 47-46, at the 15:42 mark of the second half but the Pioneers responded over the next seven minutes with a 16-7 run. Taylor and Evans combined for 12 points on the run to push SHU’s lead back to double digits, 63-53, with just under eight minutes left. The Bulldogs pushed for one more rally, pulling with four on a Megan Vasquez three with 47 seconds left but a pair of break-away lay-ups from sophomore Alexis Campbell over the Yale press thwarted the rally. The Pioneers shot 48.2% (27-56) but were plagued by 22 turnovers. SHU did take full advantage of 19 Bulldog miscues to the tune of 29 points the other way. Taylor tied her season-high with 14 rebounds for her sixth double double of the season. Apo’s 26 point night came on nine-of-15 shooting from the field and seven-of-eight at the line. The Bulldogs shot 36.5% (23-63) and were outrebounded 41-32.