Women’s Basketball Locks Down Defensively, Defeats Mount St. Mary’s 53-46

Women’s Basketball Locks Down Defensively, Defeats Mount St. Mary’s 53-46

EMMITSBURG, Md. – On a night where the Sacred Heart women's basketball team couldn't get much to fall on the offensive end, the Pioneers buckled down on the defensive end to defeat Mount St. Mary's, 53-46, on Thursday night from Knott Arena.

An extended shooting draught saw the Pioneers go 16:55 of game play without a field goal but thanks to an excellent defensive display that saw the Mountaineers shoot 25.8 percent from the floor, Mount St. Mary's never led by more than six points. Needing a bucket in the worst way, Erin Storck struck for five straight points midway through the fourth, Haines added a pair of buckets in the post and Adrianne Hagood swished a go-ahead three-pointer in her return to the lineup to win it late for the Pioneers.

Winners of five straight and eight of their last nine, SHU wraps up the 2018-19 regular season with an overall mark of 18-11 and head into the NEC Tournament as the hottest team in the league. The No. 2 seeded Pioneers (14-4 NEC) host No. 7 seed Wagner (8-10 NEC) in the NEC Quarterfinal round on Monday night with tip-off set for 6 PM.

SCORE
Sacred Heart 53 / Mount St. Mary's 46

RECORDS
Sacred Heart (18-11, 14-4 NEC) / Mount St. Mary's (14-15, 8-10 NEC)

LOCATION
Knott Arena / Emmitsburg, MD

First Quarter (19-12 MSM)

  • What was largely a back-and-forth period flipped on its head late as the Mountaineers went on a 7-0 run over the final 1:15 of the quarter to claim the seven-point lead
  • Facing Mount St. Mary's stingy 2-3 zone defense, holes weren't easy to find as the Pioneers started just 3-for-12 from the floor and 1-of-6 from three in the opening frame
  • Storck and Haines combined for 10 of the Pioneers' 12 points in the period
  • The Mountaineers found shots early for Juliette Lawless as the senior guard scored nine of her game-high 17 points in the first quarter alone

Second Quarter (28-24 SHU)

  • Both teams couldn't find their shot in the early stages of the second quarter, as the two sides combined for just five points of the opening 5:10 of the frame
  • After missing four straight games due to concussion protocol, Hagood hit from distance and converted a three-point play in the frame
  • With the game tied at 22-22, the Pioneers found some instant offense off the bench in the form of Abigail Kangudie who converted back-to-back buckets in the interior to help give the Pioneers a four-point halftime advantage
  • After struggling to contain the Mountaineers in the early going, SHU followed with an impressive defensive showing, holding MSM to just five points (2-15 FG, 1-7 3FG)
  • Just one game removed from setting a program record for fewest points allowed in a quarter (four vs RMU), the Pioneers came up with their second-fewest points allowed in a single-quarter in program history

Third Quarter (34-33 MSM)

  • SHU struggled immensely from the floor, going 0-for-12 in the third quarter but managed to get to the free throw line 10 times to keep the score close
  • Despite the clear struggles on the offensive end, the Pioneers continued to play excellent defense and held MSM to 20 percent (3-for-15) from the floor

Fourth Quarter (53-46 SHU)

  • The shooting struggles continued into the fourth as the Pioneers didn't hit their first field goal of the second half until there was 5:34 left in the fourth
  • With the Mountaineers leading by six, Storck hit a bucket in the lane to put an end to the shooting slump and followed on the next possession with a big three right in the face of a defender
  • A clear shift occurred once Storck found her form as the shots started to fall again right away with Haines converting in the paint and Hagood banging in a huge go-ahead triple on the wing
  • The ball continued to find its way into Haines' hands as she hit again in the post as the SHU lead grew to five
  • After a Daly Sullivan three-pointer cut the Pioneer lead to two points, the Mountaineers had two chances to either tie or take the lead but came up with desperation three-point attempts on both possessions as the SHU defense came up big once again
  • Free throws iced the game away and the season series sweep for SHU over MSM

NOTES

  • The Pioneers (14-4 NEC) completed their winningest season in conference play since a 15-3 NEC record in 2015-16
  • For the 17th time in 20 seasons as a member of the NEC, the Pioneers enter the postseason with a top-four seed
  • SHU has advanced to the NEC Tournament in all 20 seasons since joining the NEC and the NCAA Div. I ranks in 1999-00
  • The Pioneers own the longest-active NEC postseason streak at 20 straight seasons, the next-closest is Bryant at seven straight playoff berths
  • After MSM shot 50 percent in the first quarter, the Pioneers held the Mountaineers to just 9-for-48 (18.8 percent) from the floor and 4-for-24 (16.7 percent) from three over the remaining three quarters
  • Storck scored 16 points to lead the team while adding five rebounds in 32 minutes
  • Storck has the second-most double-digit point totals (17) on the team this season
  • Haines added 14 points, five rebounds and two blocks in 35 minutes as the forward recorded 10+ points in 17-of-18 NEC games this season
  • Hagood came off the bench to score nine points (2-5 3FG) in her return to the Pioneer lineup
  • Kangudie was a key figure in the victory, finishing with six points and three rebounds while adding a career-high five blocks
  • Candice Leatherwood posted five points (all from the free throw line), seven rebounds and three assists in just under 40 minutes of action
  • Jayla Davis grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds to go along with five steals in her 28 minutes
  • As a team, SHU totaled 10 blocks as the Pioneers recorded double-digit blocks in a single-game just the second time this season
  • The 31 free throw attempts for SHU is tied for the second-most the Pioneers have shot in a game this season
  • Holding the Mountaineers to just 25.8 percent shooting, this marked the best single-game field goal percentage defense for SHU since holding MSM to 25 percent shooting back on March 6, 2016

NEXT GAME
SHU heads into the 2019 NEC Tournament as the No. 2 seed and will host the No. 7 seeded Wagner Seahawks on Monday at 6 PM. Wagner is making its first trip to the NEC Tournament since the 2013-14 season and Monday's Quarterfinal showdown will be the first-ever postseason meeting between the two sides.