Women’s Hoops Closes Calendar Year Versus Two-Time NEC Defending Champs

Women’s Hoops Closes Calendar Year Versus Two-Time NEC Defending Champs

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FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Sacred Heart women's basketball team (4-8, 0-1 NEC) competes in its final 2017 assignment as the two-time defending Northeast Conference Champion Robert Morris (8-4, 1-0 NEC) brings in the New Year at the Pitt Center December 31. The action is slated for a noon start. 

Follow the action…

The last time out…

Despite their arduous fight on the glass and punishing their opponent at the line, Sacred Heart struggled to hit shots in the half-court. That was markedly different for Saint Francis U as the Red Flash's stifling shot-selection overpowered the Pioneers, 89-48, Friday afternoon inside the Pitt Center to commence Northeast Conference play. 

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. 

The Colonials enter the Pitt Center doors boasting a win that rolled out the conference portion of their schedule. Sharp-shooting lifted Robert Morris to a 77-68 victory at Fairleigh Dickinson. The Colonials made half of its 54 shots from the field and sank 10-of-16 (62.5%) of their three-point attempts. The visitors also held Fairleigh Dickinson to 32.7 percent shooting (16-49) and forced 18 turnovers defensively.

All-time series…

SHU leads the all-time series with Robert Morris 23-12, most recently falling to the Colonials 66-56 in the second to final game of the regular season. Katherine Haines had a career setting night as she posted her eighth double-double of the season. Haines earned a then-new career-high 18 rebounds and established a new career-high 23 points. She matched her personal-best point tally versus Hofstra this season. 

All aboard

Sacred Heart has only outrebounded its opponent three times this season edging Manhattan 41-39, and Florida A&M 48-42 and most recently Saint Francis U 40-38. The efforts against Manhattan and Florida A&M resulted in wins for the Pioneers. 

Despite the not so favorable outcome against the Red Flash, Saturday's contest marked the first time the Pioneers outrebounded a team on their own glass comparably. Both the Jaspers and the Rattlers still punished the Pioneers in arguably their weakest area.

Versus Saint Francis U, Sacred Heart grabbed 18 offensive boards contrasting SFU only garnering 10.

In the other clashes this season, Manhattan owned SHU on the offensive glass 16-9 as did FAMU, 13-12. Before the NEC opener, Sacred Heart played its most competitive rebounding effort at Monmouth when both teams finished with nine rebounds apiece.

Sacred Heart has been topped on the offensive glass to New Hampshire (9-5), Siena (17-6), Providence (11-4), Brown (19-3), Lehigh (14-10), Hofstra (14-4), Florida State (19-9) and Harvard (24-14) and has only claimed two wins amongst that cohort.

SHU is behind on a -8.9 margin on both backboards.

conNECt the dots…

In the non-conference slate, both Sacred Heart and Robert Morris picked up Monmouth as an opponent. The Pioneers endured a tightly contested, back-and-forth affair with the Hawks before facing a 69-64 setback. The Colonials, on the other hand, topped Monmouth, 56-38, in large part to their defense. RMU forced a then season-high 27 turnovers in the victory. Candice Leatherwood led SHU with 19 points. Nneka Ezeigbo added an RMU-leading 12 points.

Kat on the prowl…

In each of the Pioneers' wins this season, Katherine Haines has seen some action though the forward has only appeared in 66.7-percent of SHU's contests. Selected as one of the conference's preseason favorites, Haines averages a double-double comprised of 13.1 points and 11.3 rebounds. Her six points and three rebounds against Florida A&M were her lowest this year but also the only time the redshirt-junior scored in single digits. Her rebounding performances have spearheaded the Pioneers in all but one of her features this season. This includes her 21-rebounding effort against Siena that slotted her eighth in the Pioneers record book for single-game performances. Haines is also guaranteed to serve up 1.5 rejections a game.

This has to stop…

The Pioneers have dropped three straight accumulating losses to Siena, New Hampshire, and Saint Francis U in consecutive fashion. This is the longest skid for SHU this season. During the 2016-17 season, the Pioneers endured four setbacks in a row, Buffalo (76-55), Harvard (68-60), Hartford (81-64) and Monmouth (65-54). During the 2015-16 season, the Pioneers faced one four-game skid and a pair of three-game fumbles. On a more positive note, that season, SHU put together an 11-game and seven-game streak before earning a six-game win pattern the following season. 

Superstition is the way…

Under Head Coach, Jessica Mannetti, Sacred Heart is 3-1 in games that wrap up the calendar year but have won four of its last five right before the New Year. Last season, the Pioneers topped Saint Francis U on December 31, 73-63. In the 2015-16 season, SHU fell to Buffalo on December 29, 66-53. The Pioneers defeated Villanova on December 20, 2014, 72-49, beat Maine on December 29, 2013, 76-75 and edged Siena on December 30, 2012, 61-60.


Adrianne Hagood's team-best 18 points led all but one scorer at the Pitt Saturday afternoon 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.

In her collegiate debut at Harvard, Hagood registered a season-high 20 points off the bench. Her performance made way for two starts but the freshman averages a mere 3.5 points with the initial responsibility. The freshman's lucrative point productions came in instances off the bench including her career day in Massachusetts, last Saturday and her 12-point support at Florida State.

Hagood is averaging 8.3 points each time around while shooting 37.3-percent.

Scouting Robert Morris…

Nneka Ezeigbo leads the Colonials on both ends of the floor dropping 11.4 points a contest and seven boards per game. Megan Smith (9.3), Jocelynne Jones (8.8) and Honoka Ikematsu (8.2) are also in the forefront adding points for RMU. Smith also fights for 6.3 boards per game.

Ikematsu has dished out a total of 34 helpers. Jones has corralled a team-leading 35 steals all season.

Robert Morris has won six of its last seven matches gathering wins against Youngstown State, Monmouth, Delaware State, Lafayette, Clarion and Fairleigh Dickinson. The Colonials dropped a 41-36 decision to Kent State.