Women's Basketball Heads to In-State Conference Foe CCSU on Saturday

Women's Basketball Heads to In-State Conference Foe CCSU on Saturday

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NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – After suffering a tough defeat at LIU Brooklyn on Monday, the Sacred Heart women's basketball team looks to get back on the winning track on Saturday afternoon with a road game at in-state league foe CCSU at 1 PM.

The Pioneers are looking for the season series sweep over the Blue Devils for the first time since 2015-16. The two sides met once already this season back on January 5, when SHU toppled CCSU 66-61 from the Pitt Center. Katherine Haines dominated in that matchup, posting 23 points and 10 rebounds while Erin Storck added 15 points. SHU held the Blue Devils to just 11.8 percent shooting from three-point range (2-for-17) in the five-point victory earlier this season. 

OPENING TIP

  • The Pioneers missed an opportunity to jump into sole possession of second place in the NEC standings on Monday but remain in a tie for second place with Saint Francis U and St. Francis Brooklyn. With tiebreakers potentially coming into play, every game from this point forward looms large as the Pioneers are in position to grab the second seed which guarantees homecourt advantage in the first two roads of the NEC Tournament.
  • Katherine Haines came to play under the bright lights of the Barclays Center on Monday, as she matched her season-high (just one point off her career-high) with 25 points (11-17 FG) to go along with nine rebounds while playing 39 minutes in the loss to LIU Brooklyn. Haines has dominated all throughout the NEC slate this season, ranking fourth in the conference in scoring (18.2 PPG), second in rebounding (9.2 RPG), second in blocked shots (2.2 BPG) and eighth in field goal percentage (50.8 FG%) in NEC-only games.
  • A career-high 15-point performance from Allyson Murphy, coupled with an explosive 30-point second quarter, were the two key factors in the Pioneers' 67-57 road win at Bryant last Saturday. Despite trailing 8-0 midway through the first quarter, the Pioneers erupted with 30 points in the second period which stands as the second-highest scoring quarter in program history. The total is just one off a 31-point fourth quarter that came in a 69-59 home win over Robert Morris on Dec. 29, 2016 (NCAA moved to quarters at the start of the 2015-16 season).
  • Allyson's Murphy's 15-point output came as a big surprise as she led the Pioneers in scoring for the first time in her career while she hit double figures for just the fourth time in 65 career appearances. The 15-point game represents a higher scoring total for Murphy that in her previous six games combined (13 points).

LAST TIME OUT (LIU 69, SHU 64)

  • LIU Brooklyn came away with a big upset victory over the Pioneers in a game played at the Barclays Center on Monday afternoon
  • SHU came out of the gates strong, holding a 17-13 lead after the first quarter but were undone by a gigantic swing in the second when the Blackbirds outscored the Pioneers 23-11
  • Coming in with the fewest three-point field goals made per game (4.5) in the NEC, LIU Brooklyn took advantage of some holes in the SHU defense and hit 10 three-pointers on the game including a 6-for-7 effort in the second quarter alone
  • Despite the second quarter Blackbird surge, the Pioneers had a chance to steal a win as the fourth quarter featured three ties and two lead changes but LIU Brooklyn came up with some big defensive stops down the stretch
  • Katherine Haines was the best player on the floor, finishing with a game and season-high 25 points on 11-for-17 shooting while adding nine rebounds in the loss 

PROTECTING THE BALL
The Pioneers dished the ball well all afternoon long at LIU Brooklyn (2/18), recording 18 assists (tied for the second-most assists in a single-game this season) while committing a season-low six turnovers. Despite the loss to the Blackbirds, the six-turnover total for SHU represents the fewest turnovers for the Pioneers in a single-game since committing five in a loss to CCSU back on March 6, 2010 (275 games ago). 

HAINES HANDLING THE NEC
Katherine Haines has made easy work of the NEC this season, currently averaging 18.2 PPG (50.8 FG%, 40.0 3FG%, 79.6 FT%), 9.2 RPG and 2.2 BPG in 32.4 MPG through 13 conference games this season. Haines is currently fourth in the NEC in points per game, second in rebounding, eighth in field goal percentage, seventh in free throw percentage, ninth in three-point field goal percentage, second in blocked shots and 15th in minutes played. Haines has recorded six of her seven 20-plus scoring games in NEC play while she has recorded a double-double in over 50 percent of NEC games (7-of-13) this season. She most-recently went for 25 points (11-17 FG, 2-3 3FG) and nine rebounds in 39 minutes at LIU Brooklyn on Monday. 

MURPHY'S MOMENT
Playing with a very limited bench unit due to injuries, Allyson Murphy stepped into a leading role in a 67-57 road win at Bryant (2/16), finishing with a game and career-high 15 points (6-10 FG). The performance was quite unexpected as the junior hit double figures in scoring for just the third time this season and fourth time in her career (65 career games). To make the feat even more impressive, Murphy hadn't scored more than five points in each of the previous 13 games and had scored.13 points combined over the previous six contests.  

FLYING HIGH IN THE SECOND
Undoubtedly the key factor in the Pioneers' 67-57 road win at Bryant (2/16) came via a 30-point second quarter that saw SHU go 11-for-16 (68.8 percent) from the floor and 3-of-6 from three-point range. Several noteworthy marks from the Pioneers' 10-point road win:

  • The 30-point second quarter marks the second-highest scoring period in program history, just one point shy off a 31-point fourth quarter from a 69-59 home win over Robert Morris on Dec. 29, 2016 (NCAA moved to quarters at the start of the 2015-16 season)
  • SHU set a new season-high for points scored in a half, netting 45 in the first half against the Bulldogs, which marks the highest-scoring half since going for 48 in a home win over St. Francis Brooklyn on March 5, 2017
  • The 45-point first half is the most points scored for SHU in a half in a road game since scoring 55 back on Jan. 17, 2015 in a 101-90 win at St. Francis U
  • The Pioneers turned up the defense in the third quarter, allowing the Bulldogs to score just six points, good enough for the second-fewest points the Pioneers have ever allowed in a quarter. The fewest points allowed in a frame is a four-point first quarter for Wagner back on Feb. 10, 2018 

ABOUT THE WIN OVER THE MOUNT
Several noteworthy statistics littered the box score from the Pioneers' 76-41 victory over Mount St. Mary's on Feb. 9th and among them included:

  • All five Pioneer starters (Haines 19, Hagood 16, Leatherwood 12, Dabney 12, Storck 10) hit double figures, marking the first time since a 68-60 overtime win over FDU on Feb. 20, 2016 (56 games ago) that SHU saw five players score 10+ points in a single-game
  • SHU set new season-bests in fewest points allowed in a quarter (6 in the first period) as well as the fewest points allowed in a half all season (prev. low 19 vs Bryant, Jan. 14th)
  • The SHU defense completely locked down what was the second-highest scoring offense in NEC play, holding Mount St. Mary's to their lowest point total ever in an NEC game
  • The 41 points scored for the Mountaineers marked the fewest points SHU has allowed to an opponent since a 61-39 victory over CCSU on Feb. 25, 2013 (181 games ago)
  • The 35-point margin-of-victory is the largest win for the Pioneers in an NEC game since an 81-45 victory over FDU on Dec. 6, 2008 (188 games ago)
  • Five different Pioneers hit a three-pointer, combining to go 13-for-26 (50 3G%) which marks a new season-high for SHU and the most made triples in a game since hitting 16 in a win over St. Francis Brooklyn on March 5, 2017 (53 games ago)
  • Dabney's terrific all-around effort is one of the better individual outings in quite some time as her seven steals are the most for a Pioneer in a single-game since Ericka Norman had 10 in a game at Stony Brook on Jan. 4, 2012 (192 games ago)

HAVE A DAY DABNEY
The effort put forth by Olivia Dabney in the 76-41 home win over Mount St. Mary's cannot be understated as the sophomore went for 12 points, seven rebounds, seven steals, five assists and three blocks in 38 minutes. She either matched or tied a career-high in seven different statistical categories including field goals made (four), field goal attempts (nine), three-point field goals made (three), three-point field goal attempts (six), assists (five), blocks (three) and steals (seven). She did all of this while earning a spot in the starting lineup for the first time since a home win over Bryant back on Jan. 14 (five games ago). 

TRANSFORMING HER GAME
In terms of year-to-year improvement, Olivia Dabney has made considerable strides in terms of her offensive production. As a freshman, Dabney slashed 24.5/20.9/47.7 in terms of FG%/3FG%/FT% in her rookie season only to see her improve to 42.2/43.4/75.8 thus far in 2018-19. Dabney's three-point game was an area she highlighted to improve in the offseason and the work put in is paying off as she is currently second in the NEC shooting 43.4 percent from three (23-53 3FG) just one season removed from going 14-for-67 (20.9 percent) from long range.

LOVING THAT HOME LIVING
Sacred Heart has taken advantage of games held in the Pitt Center this season, entering the weekend with a 6-1 mark at home in NEC play. The Pioneers saw their nine-game unbeaten home winning streak against conference foes come to an end in an overtime loss to St. Francis Brooklyn on Feb. 2. In the six SHU home victories in NEC play, the Pioneers own an average scoring margin of +12.8.

PROTECTING THE BALL
The Pioneers have valued protecting the ball and it shows in the stats as SHU leads the conference in fewest turnovers committed per game (13.9). For the season, the Pioneers are 7-5 in games in which SHU commits less than 15 turnovers and have committed fewer turnovers than their opponent in 16-of-24 games (66.7 percent) thus far in 2018-19. SHU set a new season-low with just six turnovers at LIU Brooklyn (2/18), which marks the fewest turnovers for the Pioneers in a single-game since committing five against CCSU back on March 6, 2010 (275 games ago).

KEYS TO VICTORY
A comparison between wins and losses show some clear trends in determining key factors to the W-L record of the Pioneers. Some key categories include the following:

Stat Wins (13) Losses (11)
PPG 69.8 55.0
FG% 44.3 32.2
3FG% 37.2 27.0
RPG 35.4 28.9
APG 15.1 9.2

 

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 (12.1), Candice Leatherwood (11.0) and Erin Storck (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.

DEFENSE FIRST
Team defense has told the story for the Pioneers in a majority of their victories this season as the Pioneers' loss at Saint Francis U (1/26) was the first time SHU allowed an opponent to score 80-plus points this season. The Pioneers are 6-2 this season when holding opponents to less than 60 points and have allowed less than 50 points four times.

THAT 70+ SHOW
A season removed from going 5-4 in games wherein the Pioneers scored 70+ points, SHU has gone 8-0 in similar games this season as team defense has keyed the turnaround. Cumulatively, in those eight contests the Pioneers are outscoring opponents by 142 (+17.8 per game) and have defeated four 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 on January 22nd. 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 LEADING THE WAY
Candice Leatherwood led the way for the Pioneers in a recent win over Fairleigh Dickinson (2/11) as she pumped in a game-high 19 points while going 7-for-13 from the floor. Leatherwood has scored 20-plus points four times this season including three through 13 NEC games. She also continues to distribute the ball well, dishing out seven assists against just one turnover against the Knights, as she owns a positive assist-to-turnover ratio in 11-of-13 NEC games thus far in 2018-19.

BUT FIRST…WE TAKE THE LEAD
Owning a halftime advantage has been a huge key to the Pioneers' success all season long, as the Pioneers are 12-2 in games SHU leads at halftime. Since the start of NEC play, the Pioneers are outscoring the opposition by a combined score of 424-359 (+65, +5.0 scoring margin per game) in the first halves of games and have led at the half in 10-of-13 conference games. In those 13 NEC games, the Pioneers' largest scoring margin by-quarter is in the first period as SHU has outscored its opponents 215-168 (+47). By comparison, the next-largest scoring margin is the third quarter, wherein SHU owns a 209-186 (+23) advantage.

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

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

SCOUTING CCSU

  • Despite a less-than-stellar, 6-17 overall record and 3-10 mark in the NEC, CCSU has challenged several strong teams in the conference as the Blue Devils defeated Saint Francis U at home back on Jan. 19 and lost to first place Robert Morris by just seven points at home
  • CCSU has struggled on the offensive end as a team, coming in ranked eighth in the NEC in scoring offense (59.2 PPG) but the Blue Devils have made their mark on defense all season with a 66.7 scoring defense which ranks fourth in the conference
  • In terms of field goal percentage defense, the statistics hold up as the Blue Devils allow their opponents to shoot just 39.8 percent from the floor which is the second-best mark in the league
  • The three-point shot hasn't been a big strength as the Blue Devils are just one of two teams in the NEC to shoot under 30 percent from three (28.3)
  • But the three-point line has been defended very well all season, as CCSU opponents are hitting just 29.7 percent of their three-point attempts which leads the NEC
  • Kiana Patterson leads the CCSU offense as she comes in averaging 16.3 PPG (T-5th in the NEC) while hitting 2.5 three-point field goals per game (4th NEC) in 32.1 minutes per game (8th NEC)
  • Andi Lydon (9.2 PPG) and Ashley Berube (8.7 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 49.1 FG%) add depth behind Patterson