Pioneers Complete Sweep of Rivalry Week; Top Bryant 74-67

Gabrielle Washington
Gabrielle Washington

Smithfield, R.I.—Gabrielle Washington's (Mesa, Ariz.) 27 points led the game and the Pioneers to their twelfth conference win. With the 74-67 win over Bryant, the Sacred Heart women's basketball team sweeps the 2012 NEC Rivalry Week and improves to 12-2 in Northeast Conference play.

After trading jump shots over the first two minutes of the game, Callan Taylor (Overland Park, Kan.) hit a trey to kick-start the Pioneer offense. Sacred Heart's defense was in full force, allowing them to go on a nine-point run to jump out to an early 16-7 lead in the first five minutes.

Not to be outdone, the Bulldog offense countered with seven-point run to bring Bryant within two points of tying the game. Sophomore Naana Ankoma-Mensa laid it in twice to pick four points along the way.

Kiley Evans (Cazenovia, N.Y.) capped off the first half knocking down a jumper to send the Pioneers into the locker room with a 43-28 lead over the Bulldogs. Washington and Taylor led the way, combining for 24 points in the first half.

Washington started the second half scoring 10 of the Pioneers' first 14 points. The rookie knocked down four shots from the charity stripe before hitting two jumpers to give Sacred Heart the 53-33 lead. 

A late run had the Bulldogs inching closer and closer. Bryant took charge putting 16 points on the board compared to Sacred Heart's six to make it a 10-point game with just 3:40 left to play.

The Pioneers had to work hard to maintain the lead as the Bulldogs fought all the way to the end, putting up 11 points in the final minute of the game, with Danielle Douglas adding the final eight points.

For the second game in a row Sacred Heart had four players finish with double-digit scoring. In addition to Washington's 24 points, Taylor tallied a respectable 17. Sophomore point guard Ericka Norman (Chino Hills, Calif.) and junior Morgan Merriman (Seattle, Wa.) had 11 points each at the final buzzer.

Sacred Heart stays on the road, heading to St. Francis (NY) on Saturday to play the 3-21 (2-11 NEC) Terriers.