FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Sacred Heart women's basketball team is back at home for a three-game NEC homestand starting with Saturday's 1 PM PINK game against Saint Francis Brooklyn. The Pioneers will be decked out in pink for the weekend contest as the team will be raising money in support of the fight against breast cancer.
These two sides met a few weeks ago with the Pioneers claiming a tight 68-66 road win that saw Katherine Haines finish with the first triple-double in program history. Despite riding a two-game losing streak heading into the matchup, SHU still holds sole possession of second place in the league standings and a win over third place SFC would move the Pioneers two games clear of the Terriers.
- The Pioneers host the Terriers in what'll be a huge matchup in terms of potential seending in the NEC Tournament come March. A win for SHU would sweep the season series against the Terriers and vault the Pioneers two games ahead of SFBK in the league standings and three games clear via the head-to-head tiebreaker
- SHU leads the all-time series 29-14 and have won seven of the last eight contests played against the Terriers, including the last four straight played in the Pitt Center
- Katherine Haines received her second consecutive NEC Player of the Week honor last Tuesday, coming on the heels of a week that included the first triple-double in program history and her becoming the 20th player in program history to score 1,000 career points
- Haines leads all NEC players with four Player of the Week awards in 2018-19 and is the first player all season to win the honor in back-to-back weeks
- A couple of huge keys to watch in the game is the SHU defense (63.1, 2nd NEC) going up against the SFC offense (74.5 PPG, 1st NEC) as well as the rebounding department as SFC tops the league in rebounding margin (+4.9) while SHU is last (-7.8)
LAST TIME OUT (RMU 64, SHU 46)
- SHU fell victim to a stifling defensive showing from the NEC's top scoring defense as the Pioneers shot a season-low 25 percent (12-for-48) from the floor and just 4-for-19 (21.1 percent) from three-point land
- Trailing 30-16 at the half and 48-27 at the start of the fourth quarter, the outcome was never in doubt for the Colonials even with the Pioneers owning a 19-16 advantage in the fourth quarter
- Katherine Haines saw her double-digit scoring streak end at seven games
- Erin Storck led the Pioneers with 11 points while Adrianne Hagood reached double figures for the seventh time in eight games
LOVING THAT HOME LIVING
Sacred Heart has taken advantage of games held in the Pitt Center this season, entering the weekend with an undefeated 3-0 mark at home in NEC play. Dating back to last season, the Pioneers are riding a nine-game winning streak in conference games played at home. In those contests, SHU owns an average scoring margin of +11.0.
IT'S A POINTS PARTY
Sacred Heart is the only team in the NEC with four players averaging double figures in scoring – Katherine Haines (16.3 PPG), Adrianne Hagood (12.3), Erin Storck (11.0) and Candice Leatherwood (10.3). For the Pioneers, if the season were to end today it'd mark the second straight season in which SHU had four players post double digit marks in points per game. The last time a team in the NEC, other than SHU, to have at least four players averaging double figures in scoring in a season came back in 2014-15 when Bryant had five players score 10+ PPG.
Team defense has told the story for the Pioneers in a majority of their victories this season as last Saturday's loss at Saint Francis U was the first time SHU allowed an opponent to score 80-plus points this season. The Pioneers are 4-1 this season when holding opponents to less than 60 points and have allowed less than 50 points twice this season. They also kept nationally-ranked Kentucky in-check throughout their meeting in late December as the Wildcats finished with just 71 (below their 75.5 PPG average).
THAT 70+ SHOW
A season removed from going 5-4 in games wherein the Pioneers scored 70+ points, SHU has gone 7-0 in similar games this season as team defense has keyed the turnaround. Cumulatively, in those seven contests the Pioneers are outscoring opponents by 107 (+15.3 per game) and have defeated three opponents by 22 points or more.
ANOTHER FEATHER IN THE CAP
After recording the program's first-ever triple-double in a road win at St. Francis Brooklyn (Jan. 19), Katherine Haines etched her name in the record books again and became the 20th player in program history and the 13th in Sacred Heart's Division I era (since 1999-2000) to score 1000 career points. Needing 16 points to join the 1000-point club, Haines finished with 19 on the afternoon, going 8-for-14 from the floor as she now stands with 1,0003 career points.
PLAYING HER WAY TO THE TOP
Katherine Haines earned her second consecutive NEC Player of the Week honor last Tuesday. The honor comes on the heels of Haines posting the first triple-double in program history and becoming the 20th player in program history to eclipse 1,000 career points. Haines' second straight Player of the Week honor makes her the first player in the NEC to earn back-to-back Player of the Week awards this season. This announcement gives Haines four NEC Player of the Week awards in 2018-19, giving her the most of any player in the conference with seven weeks of the regular season remaining. The next-closest is Jess Kovatch (SFU) and Sydney Holloway (BRY) with two each.
LEATHERWOOD LETHAL FROM THREE
Candice Leatherwood led the way for the Pioneers in a recent win over Wagner as she pumped in a game-high 20 points while going 4-for-6 from behind the three-point arc. It was her third time scoring 20-plus points this season including the second time over the previous four games. She also continues to distribute the ball well, dishing out five assists against just two turnovers as she owns a positive assist-to-turnover ratio in seven-of-eight NEC games thus far in 2018-19.
BUT FIRST…WE TAKE THE LEAD
The Pioneers were outscored in the first half 43-38 in Saturday's loss at Saint Francis U, marking the first time since starting conference play that the Pioneers trailed at halftime. Sacred Heart had outscored the opposition in the first half in each of their six NEC games (SHU 162-128 combined score advantage) to start the league slate. For the season, the Pioneers are 9-1 in games Sacred Heart leads at halftime.
OFF TO A HOT START
- The Pioneers 10-9 overall start to the season and 6-2 start in NEC play is the best start for the Pioneers since the 2011-12 season when the Pioneers went 25-8 overall and went 15-3 in NEC play
- That year, the Pioneers won the 2012 Northeast Conference Championship and competed in the first round of the NCAA tournament where they fell to top ranked Georgia Tech
DOMINATING THE SEAHAWKS
- The 72-64 win over Wagner marked the 11th straight win for Sacred Heart over the Seahawks (last loss 79-70 at Wagner 1/13/14)
- The Pioneers upped their home winning streak against the Seahawks to 17 straight games
- The only defeat SHU suffered to Wagner at home came in a 74-44 loss to the Seahawks on Jan. 18, 2000 which was the Pioneers' first season at the Div. I level
CLIMBING THE CHARTS
- Since the start of NEC play, Katherine Haines ranks third in conference-only games in scoring (19.3 PPG), fourth in rebounding (9.0), 13th in field goal percentage (48.3), 11th in free throw percentage (78.6) and first in blocked shots (2.8)
- Sophomore Adrianne Hagood has shined in NEC-only games as she sits 10th in the league in scoring (13.9 PPG) while shooting 37.9 percent from the floor and 34.8 percent from three (15th in NEC)
- The Pioneers are the only team in the league that have two players ranked in the Top 10 in scoring in conference-only games (Haines 19.3, Hagood 13.9)
- Protecting the ball is also a huge key to the team success for SHU as the Pioneers rank first in conference-only action in assist/turnover ratio (+1.2, 116 assists : 98 turnovers)
HAINES TRIPLE-DOUBLE POWERS PIONEERS PAST SAINT FRANCIS BROOKLYN 68-66
- SHU earned its fifth Northeast Conference victory last Saturday as the Pioneers prevailed in the final seconds over St. Francis Brooklyn by a final score of 68-66.
- Katherine Haines led the Pioneers, tallying the program's first triple-double as she registered 25 points, 15 rebounds and a career-high 11 blocks. Haines' 11 blocks tied the program-record and set the program-record for most blocks in program-history in the Div. I era.
DISHING THE BALL TO DABNEY
- Sophomore Olivia Dabney scored a career high 13 points in the 80-68 victory over Wagner. Dabney went 3-6 from the filed while going 3-4 from beyond the arc. She also went 4-4 from the free throw line.
- In the past seven games since the Pioneers opened up conference play, Dabney is averaging 7.9 points per game and has gone for double figures in three of those seven contests
- For the season, Dabney is shooting at a 43.6 percent clip (17-for-39 3FG) from behind the arc which leads the team and ranks third in the NEC. The mark has only improved since the start of conference play as Dabney leads all NEC players shooting 50 percent (10-for-20 3FG) from three-point range
- Robert Morris, who was selected as the preseason favorite to win the league in the annual preseason coaches' poll, is the lone remaining unbeaten in the conference as the Colonials sport a perfect 7-0 mark in the NEC
- Following a 59-36 setback to James Madison back on December 30, the Colonials have won its first seven league games by outscoring its conference foes by nearly 20 points per contest (71.1 ppg to 51.4 ppg)
- Collectively, the Colonials rank sixth in the league, averaging 61.8 ppg while limiting opponents to a league-low, 56.5 ppg
- Additionally, RMU leads the conference in field-goal percentage defense at 38.0 percent and have stolen a league best 10.6 steals per game
- Individually, Nneka Ezeigbo, is the lone Colonial averaging double-figures at 10.2, which ranks 18th among all-conference players and in conference-only games, Ezeigbo is pouring in 11.6 ppg, good for 15th
- Irekpitan Ozzy-Momodu is the team's leading rebounder at 7.1 per contest, good for fifth in the circuit
- Isabella Posset, a three-time NEC Rookie of the Week honoree, is the team's second leading scorer (8.3 ppg) while dishing out 2.9 helpers a contest, good for seventh in the league