Sacred Heart hands women’s basketball first NEC defeat

Adam Jasie

The scoreboard was a bit deceiving at the end of yesterday’s women basketball game between the Sacred Heart Pioneers and the Quinnipiac University Bobcats.

The final score of 92-82 in favor of the Pioneers was a hard blow for a Bobcats team that has played very well all season and left a bad taste in their mouths. The game more closely resembled a blow-by-blow title fight than the one-sided affair it became in the final minutes of regulation.

Erin Kerner scored 24 points for the Bobcats and Mandy Pennewell added another 19 along with six assists in the losing effort. “[Erin] needs to bring her best every night and she did that again tonight,” said Bobcats head coach Tricia Fabbri.

Kaitlin Sowinski of Sacred Heart had a career-high 33 points along with 10 rebounds in the win. Alisa Apo added another 24 points, and Stephanie Ryan had a double-double with 13 points and 10 boards.

A back and forth first half, which saw four lead changes in the first five minutes alone, had the Pioneers up 10-9 at the 15 minute media break and then saw the lead grow to 16-9 after a 9-0 Pioneers run. The Bobcats fought hard and after scoring 10 of the next 14 points cut the deficit to one, 20-19, with 7:19 left. Quinnipiac finally tied the game at 26 thanks to a Kerner three at 4:12. The teams continued to trade the lead as the Pioneers twice regained the advantage, but the Bobcats would not relinquish the lead again in the half after a Pennewell three with 2:04 left. The half ended on a three pointer by Apo as time expired to cut the Quinnipiac advantage to just two, 37-35.

The Bobcats continued to see success on the offensive side early in the second half twice taking leads of eight points. The leads were short lived though has Sacred Heart stayed in the hunt, highlighted by back-to-back threes by Stephanie Ryan.

The Pioneers took a 51-50 lead on a pair of free throws by Khalia Cain at the 14:33 mark. Quinnipiac saw its last lead after going ahead, 71-70, with less than five minutes to go.

It was all Sacred Heart after that as they stretched the lead to as many as 11 points, putting the game out of reach.

“The second half Sowinski was the difference” Fabri said. “I think that’s because we had no Lee.”

Quinnipiac was also hampered by what appeared to be a serious knee injury to starting forward Monique Lee which forced her to play just 14 minutes and only 2-3 from the field. “That’s ten points right there,” remarked Fabbri when asked after the game. “We’re hoping for the best.”

The Bobcats (15-3 overall and 7-1 in the conference) look to bounce back when they travel to Fairleigh Dickinson Saturday afternoon.