NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – After trailing for a considerable portion, clutch execution nearly bailed the Sacred Heart women's basketball team (6-10, 2-3 NEC) out as the Pioneers managed to bring the game back within single-digits with the shot-clock turned off for good. However, host Central Connecticut (2-13, 2-2 NEC) punished the Pioneers at the line to take the Northeast Conference battle, 69-59, Saturday afternoon at Detrick Gymnasium.
How it happened…
A 4-0 spurt in the early proceedings of the contest granted SHU its first and only lead of the afternoon. Tykera Carter's scrappiness forced Kiana Patterson to lose control of her dribble as the senior seized the rock, put on the gas and flipped up a shot that tied things at 2-2 2:17 into the opening quarter. For the next scoring sequence, Katherine Haines drove down the lane to reward the Pioneers its only advantage, 4-2.
Morgan Johnson parked herself in the left corner just 26 ticks later before casting the go-ahead trey to put the lead back in CCSU's custody where it would remain for the duration of the game, 5-4.
Despite facing a double-digit deficit late in the third quarter, Adrianne Hagood's successful trip to the line following her hard take to the cup saw the Pioneers behind by only nine with 8:36 left to play. Patterson on the side of Central drained a dagger from the outside moments after to put the hosts back up 12, 52-40.
Relentless, the Pioneers refused to back off as SHU cut into single-digits again following a make from beyond the arc released by Carter, 62-54, with 43 seconds to go.
Competing against the clock, SHU sent Central Connecticut to the line eight times, where the Blue Devils generated seven points. Another Hagood showing at the stripe made it an eight-point game with 35 seconds pictured on the scoreboard. Erin Storck's triple from the wing saw the Pioneers down seven with the shot-clock turned off. CCSU split the next trip to the stripe but an empty possession by the Pioneers followed which put the scoring efforts at rest, surrendering the 10-point ball game.
The three-ball bailed Central Connecticut's carelessness with the basketball as the Blue Devils hit 47.4-percent of its threes while committing 24 turnovers. As a result of the miscues, SHU grabbed a season-high 15 steals collectively which the team converted into 10 fast-break points. Though the Pioneers lost control of the rock 13 times, the Blue Devils failed to sink a shot in the open court.
Moreover, the Blue Devils punished the Pioneers in a troubling area-rebounding. Despite SHU only being edged on the offensive glass, 13-10, Central Connecticut won the overall battle, 43-28, which added 16 second-chance points for the hosts. Five points were tallied for the Pioneers in the category.
Haines netted a team-best 19 points on 43.8-percent shooting. The forward also had four makes at the line, one triple, six boards and a career-high and game-best four steals.
Carter finished with 16 points swishing 40-percent of her looks including two from downtown. She dished out a helper and corralled a pair of thefts.
Hagood ended with 12 points in large part to eight points being recorded at the free-throw line. The freshman also added two assists, two steals and a rebound to her arsenal.
Storck and Leatherwood both recorded six points. Storck's half a dozen points were in support of four rebounds, three steals, and one rejection. Leatherwood's six were accompanied by a game-high four dimes and career-high three steals.
Patterson's game-high 23 points strengthened CCSU as all but one of her field goals were tabbed as threes (5-of-11). She also dished three assists. Emma McCamus led the Blue Devils' surge off the bench crediting 10 of the 24 points generated by the reserves.
- The 15 steals earned as a team is a season-best for the Pioneers.
- SHU's cold shooting in the third quarter (8 points) produced the lowest scoring output since New Hampshire on December 20, 2017 (7 points).
- The Pioneers outscored the Blue Devils in the fourth-quarter 23-20.
Women's basketball hosts their first Northeast Conference opponent in the calendar year on Monday, January 15 when it opens its doors to Bryant. The action at the Pitt Center begins at 1:00 p.m.