FAIRFIELD. Conn. – The Sacred Heart women's basketball team (7-13, 3-6 NEC) gets the second half of Northeast Conference rolling hosting intrastate rival, Central Connecticut (2-18, 2-7 NEC), Saturday at 1:00 p.m. inside the Pitt Center on the front end of a hoops doubleheader.
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SHU leads the all-time series with Central Connecticut 31-18. Last season, the two teams split their series with CCSU picking up a win in January and SHU taking bragging rights for its Senior Day in February. This Pioneers dropped their first match against the Blue Devils this season.
Pioneers last time out…
Sacred Heart faced a single-digit deficit heading into the final quarter of play. A flurry of three-pointers and five consecutive scoring possessions by host St. Francis Brooklyn exploited the Pioneers' cold shooting fueling the Terriers' 63-48 win Monday at the Pope Physical Education Center.
Both teams stayed competitive through the first 20 minutes trading baskets with St. Francis favoring the slight 27-23 edge as both squads headed for the locker-rooms. However, a 12-5 surge for St. Francis Brooklyn toward the third quarter's close, put the visitors down nine before the final window of play unraveled.
St. Francis Brooklyn displayed its three-point shooting prowess hitting back-to-back long balls within the first 60 ticks of the fourth, 47-32. The Pioneers kept working cleaning up the offensive glass and picking the pockets of the hosts but failed to capitalize on the three opportunities that followed. The Terriers' took advantage of SHU's cold front opening up a 19-point lead, the largest of the evening before coasting to a 15-point final.
Jayla Davis spearheaded the Pioneers' offense tallying a career-high 12 points netting 50-percent of her looks (4-of-8). The freshman also earned the most trips to the line (5) of any student-athlete converting four of those tries.
Blue Devils last time out…
Central Connecticut fell to Robert Morris 66-47 on Monday night at the Colonial's North Athletic Complex in Moon Township, PA. Central's bench out-scored RMU's reserves 19-16, who averaged 7.1 more points per game than its opponent's bench entering the contest.
CCSU made 10 three-pointers in the game, making it the fourth time the Blue Devils have connected on 10-plus triples in a single game this season. Three of the 10 came off the hand of graduate transfer Morgan Johnson who led CCSU with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting including 3-of-4 from behind the arc.
Robert Morris completes the month of January undefeated marking the first time since 2010 the team has been flawless for an entire month. The league leaders advance to 16-4 and 9-0 in the NEC.
Earlier this year…
After trailing for a considerable portion, clutch execution nearly bailed Sacred Heart 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 punished the Pioneers at the line to take the battle, 69-59, on Saturday, January 13, 2018, at Detrick Gymnasium.
The three-ball paled 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.
Head Coach Jessica Mannetti explained. "[We have to] make shots. We, continue to have great defensive effort when we are locked in and decide to refocus our game plan and our efforts defensively. We have to find a way to put teams away-force turnovers, finish in transition [...] how are we going to find a way not to have to play five on five? So, converting live ball turnovers into points will be really big for us."
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Last season's series…
On January 7, 2017, SHU traveled to New Britain, Connecticut to take on the Blue Devils. Katherine Haines led the Pioneers with 15 points and recorded her third-straight double-digit game, as the Pioneers fell 67-50 to CCSU. This marked the first NEC loss for SHU, three games into the season.
On February 11, 2017, SHU avenged their loss to Central Connecticut, as they blew the Blue Devils out of the water, handing them their largest margin of defeat in conference play, with a score of 82-61. Katherine Haines led the Pioneers as she posted her fifth double-double of the season, ending with 22 points, and 15 rebounds. The win clinched the Pioneers' spot in the NEC tournament.