Women travel to Sacred Heart in Game 1 of New England Knockout
SMITHFIELD, R.I. - The Bryant University women's basketball team hits the road to kick off NEC Rivalry Week, as the Bulldogs clash with league-leading Sacred Heart in the first game of the New England Knockout on Saturday afternoon at the William H. Pitt Center.
Both teams are looking to avoid losing two in a row, with Bryant most recently suffering a 50-41 setback at LIU Brooklyn while the Pioneers were handed just their second conference loss of the season by means of a 70-50 romping against Monmouth on Feb. 6.
In a series that dates all the way back to February of 1981, the Bulldogs and Pioneers have squared off 14 times, and both teams are even at 7-7 each. Starting with a 71-63 win back on Feb. 2, 1981, the Bulldogs won the first four games against Sacred Heart and went 7-2 in their first nine before a long hiatus from 1993 to 2008.
Since joining the Division I ranks and reigniting the rivalry between both schools, the Bulldogs have not enjoyed the same success they did in its Division II days. Bryant is 0-5 against Sacred Heart since 2008, including an 0-3 mark at the Pitt Center.
LAST TIME OUT: BULLDOGS STUMBLE AGAINST BLACKBIRDS
The Bulldogs trimmed a double-digit deficit to five at the break, but LIU Brooklyn pulled away in the second half, handing the Bulldogs a 50-41 defeat on Feb. 6 at the Wellness Center.
Just one Bulldog managed to reach double digits, as junior Katie Whittington finished with 12 points while going 2-for-7 from long range, accounting for all of the team's damage from the outside.
Bryant finished the evening just 2-of-9 (.222) from three-point range and even worse from the field, as the Bulldogs set a new season low in shooting percentage by going 13-of-60 (.217) from the field. The visitors did not help themselves at the free throw line either, finishing the game just 13-of-21 (.619) from the stripe.
Preseason All-NEC Team member Ashley Palmer led all players with a 17-point outing to pace the Blackbirds to a crucial conference victory. Ebony Davis boasted 11 boards for the home side and was one of three different Blackbird players to finish with two blocks, as LIU Brooklyn finished the game with a 7-3 advantage in rejections.
SCOUTING THE PIONEERS
Boasting three winning streaks of at least four games or more, the Pioneers soared out of the gate to a 9-1 start to the season and currently stand at 17-6 with a 10-2 mark in the NEC. More recently, however, Sacred Heart has come down to earth with a 3-2 record in its last five that has allowed its first-place cushion in the conference to shrink to just one game.
Senior forward Callan Taylor has been a big reason for the Pioneers' success. The 6-foot guard leads her team and ranks third in the conference in scoring (17.3 ppg), hauls in 10.0 rebounds per game (second in the league) and hardly misses from the field with a league-leading 51.3 percent field goal percentage (158-308). After her, freshman Gabrielle Washington has certainly given fans a reason to believe that the future is bright after the graduation of Taylor. The 5-foot-9 guard is the only other player to average double figures (10.8 ppg).
No other conference squad plays better defense in the league than the Pioneers (55.4 ppg allowed), and their +8.9 scoring margin on the season leads the league by 2.6 points. Sacred Heart also ranks first in 3-point field goal percentage (.333).
LAST YEAR AGAINST THE PIONEERS
Jan. 15, 2011 - at Sacred Heart (54-44 loss)
Sophomore Meredith Soper scored 12 points and added seven rebounds but the Bryant University women's basketball team could not hold off a late second half surge by Sacred Heart as the Bulldogs fell, 54-44, Saturday afternoon in Northeast Conference action at the William H. Pitt Center.
Callan Taylor led the way offensively for the Pioneers as the junior scored a game-high 26 points and 16 rebounds for the double-double, including 11 points in the final eight minutes to give the home side the late advantage and eventual victory.
Sophomore Danielle Douglas added nine points for the visitors while senior Siamone Bennett grabbed eight boards. As a team, Bryant shot 35.6 percent from the floor on 16-for-45 shooting while Sacred Heart shot 27.8 from the field.
Feb. 19, 2011 - at Bryant (74-54 loss)
After neck-and-neck play midway through the first half, Sacred Heart picked up the offense and never looked back as the Bryant University women's basketball team fell to the Pioneers, 74-54, in Northeast Conference play Saturday afternoon at the Chace Athletic Center.
Sophomore Danielle Douglas provided a bulk of the scoring for the Bulldogs as she netted 17 points on 6-for-13 shooting from the floor and added three steals. As a team, Bryant shot 34.5 percent from the field and outrebounded the Pioneers by a margin of 38-35.
Erika Norman paced Sacred Heart with a game-high 19 points while Maggie Cosgrove and Alexis Campbell added 17 and 11, respectively.
OFF THE MARK
The Bulldogs recorded a new single-game low in shooting against LIU Brooklyn on Monday after going just 13-for-60 from the field (.217) and 2-for-9 (.222) from long range.
While the Bulldogs were never a high-percentage shooting team at any point this season, the past few games have taken their toll on the team's shooting percentage. In the last five games, the Bulldogs have shot 90-of-289 (.311) from the field and an even lower 11-for-58 (.190) from long range. Bryant has gone 2-3 during that span.
SHE'S HEATING UP
Bulldog junior guard Danielle Douglas, the team's lead returning scorer from a year ago, has reclaimed that honor with a team-leading 68 points in her last five games. She is the only player in that span to average double digits (13.6 ppg), and since January, the Silver Spring, Md., native leads all Bryant players with 149 points in 10 games (13.5 ppg).
NOT FEELIN' THE 40s
Bryant has been held to 40-49 points on four occasions this season, and the end result has not been positive in any of them. The Bulldogs are 0-4 on the year when scoring between 40-49 points.
TAKE AWAY THE 20s, TOO!
The Bulldogs are 1-4 on the season when posting a shooting percentage less than 30 percent. The only victory in which the team logged a shooting percentage in the 20s was 55-49 win over Monmouth on Jan. 28.
Since shooting a respectable 4-for-13 (.308) from downtown against CCSU on Jan. 23, the Bulldogs have gone a woeful 7-for-45 (.155) over the last four games from long range. Junior Katie Whittington has made four of those treys (4-19).
DOING MORE WITH LESS
The Bulldogs haven't eclipsed the 60-point mark since a 75-62 loss against CCSU on Jan. 23. In the last four games, the Bulldogs have gone 2-2, and in both of those wins the Black and Gold scored an identical 55 points (Monmouth, SFNY), while scoring just 43 points in defeat against FDU on Jan. 30 and a season-low 41 points at LIU Brooklyn.
CAN'T MAKE IT TO THE GAME?
Bryant University Athletics offers more ways than ever before to watch, listen or follow your Bulldogs during all the action even when you can't make it to the court! Head to www.bryantbulldogs.tv for information about single-game and full- season broadcasting packages, where you can watch webcasts of the Bulldogs for most home games. Live stats can be found at www.bryantbulldogs.com for every contest, and you can follow @BryantGameday on Twitter for score updates.