FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Despite their arduous fight on the glass and punishing their opponent at the line, the Sacred Heart women's basketball team (4-8, 0-1 NEC) struggled to hit shots in the half-court. That was markedly different for Saint Francis U (6-7, 1-0 NEC) as the Red Flash's stifling shot-selection overpowered the Pioneers, 89-48, Friday afternoon inside the Pitt Center to commence Northeast Conference play.
How it happened…
The NEC's leading point-getter, Jessica Kovatch, splashed a long jumper to open scoring by either team nearly five minutes into the contest. Less than a minute later, Tykera Carter saw her first free-throw go in and out before her second attempt made it a one-point game early, 2-1. At the 4:42 mark Katherine Haines' swished two tries at the charity stripe to put the hosts up one fresh out of a media timeout, 3-2. SFU's Caitlyn Kroll cashed in on her nifty scoop to the cup at 4:14 prior to Adrianne Hagood crediting her first and second point of her team-leading 18, 5-4. On the following live possession, Ace Harrison saw an opening down low as her go-ahead basket would tap the final lead change by either team.
Jenna Mastellone netted the 11th and last three-pointer on the Red Flash's behalf mounting the team's largest lead of the afternoon up 44 at 1:16 in the fourth before the Pioneers favored a 5-2 run to settle the final.
Hagood's team-best 18 points led all but one scorer at the Pitt as the freshman knocked down 50-percent of her looks from the court (5-of-10). The reserve played the most minutes of any-non-starter drilling one trey, going 77.8-percent from the charity stripe (7-of-9), hauling two boards and dishing out a pair of dimes. The Accokeek, Maryland native's performance was two points shy of her early career-best.
Haines was one rebound off of a double-double earning 12 points and pulling down nine boards in 28 minutes on the hardwood. Despite shooting 30-percent for the game (3-of-10), the forward was a 50-percent long-range shooter and sank all four of her tries at the free-throw line. She also stopped one of SFU's shot attempts.
Of the 13 Red Flash student-athletes that garnered playing time, all but two added a basket.
Kovatch led SFU's victory with 31 points, on 70.5-percent shooting (12-of-17). She also handed out the most assists of the afternoon with five. Harrison was the only other SFU representative to tally double-figures putting up 13 points.
Saint Francis U clobbered Sacred Heart down low generating nearly half of its buckets in the paint, 43, while SHU benefitted 18. Of the Pioneers' 22 turnovers, SFU managed to convert the stat to 24 points. The Red Flash upstaged the hosts in the open court earning 17 points to SHU's four.
The Pioneers had 19 attempts at the charity stripe contrasting SFU's seven and Sacred Heart went 78.9-percent. In live ball scenarios, the Red Flash knocked down 54.4-percent of their looks compared to the Pioneers only seeing 24.1-percent of their attempts through the net.
- This marked the third time this season Sacred Heart outrebounded a team (40-38) and the first time this year the Pioneers pulled down more offensive boards than their opponent (18-10).
The Pioneers round out the calendar year hosting Robert Morris Sunday, December 31 at noon at Coach Bike Court. The first 300 youth at the game receive glow in the dark 2018 glasses to celebrate New Year's Eve.