Women's Basketball Ready for WNIT First Round Matchup at Georgetown on Friday

Women's Basketball Ready for WNIT First Round Matchup at Georgetown on Friday


FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Advancing to the WNIT for the fourth time in the last seven seasons, the Sacred Heart women's basketball team begins postseason play with a First Round matchup at Georgetown on Friday night from the McDonough Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 PM. This marks the eighth national postseason tournament appearance for the Pioneers who're looking for their first-ever victory in national postseason play.

The Pioneers (19-12, 14-4 NEC) completed their winningest season in conference play since owning a 15-3 NEC record in 2015-16 and continued a remarkable run wherein SHU advanced to the NEC Tournament in all 20 seasons since joining the NEC and the NCAA Div. I in 1999-00. With top-seeded RMU toppling SFU in the NEC Championship game, the Pioneers earned the NEC's automatic bid into the WNIT by way of owning the league's second-best conference record. Awaiting SHU in the WNIT First Round is a talented Georgetown squad who just advanced to their second consecutive BIG EAST Semifinal for the first time in program history.

- SHU continue their dominance in the NEC as the Pioneers have finished among the regular season among the top four teams in the conference in 14 of the last 15 seasons. In addition, SHU has advanced to the NEC Tournament in all 20 seasons since joining the NEC in 1999-00 and own the league's longest-standing postseason streak (next-closest is Bryant at seven straight).
- The Pioneers matched a league record on Monday as four players (Kat Haines – First Team, Candice Leatherwood – Second Team, Erin Storck – Third Team, Adrianne Hagood – Third Team) were named All-NEC. This marks just the second time in league history (FDU in 2014-15 was the only other team) that four players from one team were named All-NEC. Haines (2016-17 All-NEC Second Team) and Leatherwood (2017-18 All-NEC Third Team) picked up their second career All-NEC honors while Storck and Hagood were honored for the first time.
- Candice Leatherwood was at her best in the NEC Tournament as the redshirt senior guard pumped in 17 points (7-14 FG), six rebounds, three assists and two steals in the NEC Quarterfinal win over Wagner (3/11) before she went for a playoff career-high 21 points (8-16 FG, 5-10 3FG) including a career-high five three-pointers to go along with three assists and two rebounds in the NEC Semifinal loss to Saint Francis U (3/14). Leatherwood's efforts won her a spot on the NEC All-Tournament Team as she averaged 19 PPG (50 FG%, 42.9 3FG%), 4.0 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.5 SPG and 36.0 MPG across two NEC postseason games.
- Making what is their fourth trip to the WNIT, this marks the eighth time in SHU's Div. I program history that the Pioneers have advanced to a national postseason tournament (4x WNIT, 3x NCAA, 1x WBI). Also impressive is that all four of the Pioneers' WNIT berths have come over the last seven seasons while SHU has made a national postseason tournament in six of the last nine seasons overall. A victory over the Hoyas on Friday would mark the program's first-ever national postseason tournament win (0-3 all-time in WNIT).


  • Saint Francis U used a game-high 23 points from NEC Player of the Year Jess Kovatch and held the Pioneers scoreless for the first five-plus minutes of the fourth quarter to pull out the 68-60 win over SHU in Fairfield
  • This marked the second straight season in which the Red Flash dispatched the Pioneers in the NEC Semifinal round
  • Candice Leatherwood did her best to keep the Pioneers in the game as she pumped in a playoff career-high 21 points while hitting a career-high five three-pointers
  • Erin Storck had a fantastic all-around effort with 13 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals while Katherine Haines tallied 14 points and nine rebounds
  • The three Pioneers playing in their final collegiate season (Leatherwood, Storck and Haines) combined for 48 of SHU's 60 points scored on the evening
  • The loss was a slow-burn for the Pioneers who came out firing with 22 points in the first quarter and owned a 35-34 halftime lead but the shots didn't fall in the second half as the Pioneers went 9-for-30 (30 percent) from the floor in the second half and shot just 20 percent (3-for-15) in the fourth quarter

SHU's 20-year run in the NEC is quite impressive considering the Pioneers have advanced to the NEC Tournament every season since joining NCAA Division I in 1999-00. Across 20 seasons in the NEC, the Pioneers have never owned a losing record in NEC home games and have compiled a cumulative 154-26 (.856 win percentage) home record in conference regular season games since 1999-00. In addition, the Pioneers are 252-98 (.720) in NEC regular season play and never finished with a win percentage below .500 in league play across 20 NEC seasons. SHU has won three NEC conference titles (2005-06, 2008-09, 2011-12) and advanced to the WNIT three times (2012-13, 2015-16, 2016-17).

Making their 20th consecutive NEC Tournament appearance, SHU just completed their winningest conference regular season since a 16-2 campaign in 2015-16. Earning the No. 2 seed, the Pioneers rode a six-game win streak into the Semifinal round before being bounced out by Saint Francis U at home. Playing at home for the 25th time in 38 NEC Tournament games in the program's history, the Pioneers own an all-time mark of 17-8 (70.8 percent) when playing from the Pitt Center in the postseason. In comparison, SHU is just 4-7 in 11 games away from the Pitt Center in the postseason.

Katherine Haines became the 12th player in program history to earn All-NEC First Team honors as she was the go-to scorer on this year's Pioneer squad. She went for 18.3 PPG in NEC play which ranked third in the league while adding 9.3 RPG (3rd NEC) and 1.9 BPG (2nd NEC) in 32.9 MPG (T-12th NEC). Her efficiency from the floor is well-noted as the forward shot 50.6 percent overall (9th NEC), 76.9 FT% (T-9th NEC) and an impressive 41.7 3FG% (3rd NEC) which ranks first in the league among forwards. She made history this season, recording the program's first-ever triple-double at St. Francis Brooklyn and recorded a double-double in over half (10-of-18) of the league games this season. She was honored as the NEC Player of the Week a league-high five times in 2018-19.

Candice Leatherwood was the steadying force in the Pioneer backcourt all season long as she averaged 11.8 PPG (16th NEC) with 3.9 APG (4th NEC) in 18 NEC contests. She shot a high percentage from three throughout conference play, knocking down 38.1 percent of her three-point attempts which ranked 10th in the NEC. A true point guard, Leatherwood protected the ball throughout the conference slate with a 1.5 assist/turnover ratio (3rd NEC0 as she dished out more assists than turnovers committed in 14-of-18 league games. In two seasons with the Pioneers, after transferring from Liberty following the 2015-16 season, Leatherwood is a two-time All-NEC player as she was named to the Third Team last season.

Consistency has been the name of the game for Erin Storck throughout her career and most particualry in the 2018-19 season as she earns her first career All-NEC honor. The graduate student averaged 10.1 PPG (19th NEC) in league play while posting the sixth-most assists (3.3 APG), 14th-most steals (1.3 SPG), eighth-most blocked shots (1.1 BPG), sixth-best assist/turnover ratio (1.3) and sixth-most minutes (33.9 MPG) in the NEC. A workhorse for the Pioneers, Storck started all 29 games and ranked second on the team with 17 double-digit point totals despite averaging the fourth-most points per game on the team. Storck has blocked the most shots (28) of any guard in the NEC this season.

Torching opponents all season long, Hagood makes her way onto the All-NEC Third Team after being an All-Rookie Team member last season. Putting up 12.0 PPG in NEC play, Hagood ranked second on the team and tied for 14th in the NEC in scoring. She hit 39.0 percent of her three-point attempts in conference play (6th NEC) while her 2.1 makes per game from behind the arc ranked fifth in the NEC. Hagood posted double-digit point totals in 10-of-14 NEC games (71.4 percent) and had at least one three-pointer in all but one of her league appearances this season.

Despite injuries suffered by key figures Olivia Dabney (missed last eight games) and Adrianne Hagood (missed three straight games, returned at MSM), the Pioneers rallied and reeled off a six-game win streak and are winners of nine out of the last 11 with key wins coming over Saint Francis U and Robert Morris in the regular season before toppling Wagner in the postseason. An improbable run, often with the Pioneers employing a six-player rotation, SHU excelled during a four-game run when the injuries to both Hagood and Dabney first hit, averaging 71.5 PPG (48.3 FG%, 45.5 3FG%) while outscoring opponents by an incredible +20.3 margin.

The Pioneers welcomed the return of their third-league scorer on the season as sophomore guard Adrianne Hagood returned to the lineup at Mount St. Mary's (3/7) after missing four straight games due to injury. SHU's third-leading scorer on the team (11.3 PPG) is a welcome sight as she gives the Pioneers much-needed depth at the guard position. Hagood scored nine points (2-5 3FG) in her first game back and has had a productive season with 16 double-digit scoring games in 27 appearances on the season.

Erin Storck has been a model of consistency in her senior season as she is fourth on the team in points per game (10.6) but second in double-digit point totals as she has 18 through 31 games. Storck set her season-high point total in the season-opener at UMass (11/6) with 20 points and tallied a high of 16 points twice through 18 NEC regular season games. She has been a key figure of late as she has scored double figures in six of the last seven games (12 PPG…up from her 10.6 PPG average) while adding 5.1 RPG and 2.9 APG. Most-recently, Storck was stellar all-around against Saint Francis U as she went for 13 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals in 36 minutes against the Red Flash.

Playing with a very limited bench unit due to injuries, Allyson Murphy stepped into a leading role in a 77-51 win over Saint Francis U (3/2) as she pumped in a career-high 16 points (7-14 FG) while playing all 40 minutes for the first time in her career. Seeing an increase in playing time due on injuries in the Pioneer backcourt, Murphy notched 15 points at Bryant (2/16), 11 points at CCSU (2/23) and 10 points against Wagner (3/11) to give her double digit point total in four of the last nine games.

Utilizing a very limited bench due to multiple injuries for key contributors, Allyson Murphy has certainly made the most of her opportunity as she has scored 66 of her 147 points (44.9 percent) for the season over the last nine games as she is averaging 7.3 PPG in that stretch. A significant increase in scoring, Murphy averaged 3.7 PPG through the first 22 games of the season.

The Pioneers dished the ball well all afternoon long against SFU (3/2), matching a season-high with 20 assists against just 12 turnovers. This marked the third time in a recent span of four games that the Pioneers have recorded at least 18 assists, well above their season average of 12.9 per game. In a recent loss at LIU Brooklyn (2/18), the Pioneers committed a season-low six turnovers. That 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).

Katherine Haines has made easy work of the NEC this season, averaging 18.3 PPG (50.6 FG%, 41.7 3FG%, 76.9 FT%), 9.3 RPG and 1.9 BPG in 32.9 MPG in the regular season conference games this season. Haines ranked third in the NEC in points per game, third in rebounding, ninth in field goal percentage, tied for ninth in free throw percentage, third in three-point field goal percentage, second in blocked shots and tied for 12th in minutes played. Haines recorded eight of her nine 20-plus scoring games in NEC play while she has recorded a double-double in well over 50 percent of NEC games (10-of-18) this season. She most-recently notched 14 points and nine rebounds against Saint Francis U (3/14).

Over the span on NEC play, Katherine Haines dominated conference foes enough to earn a deserved spot on the All-NEC First Team. Since the start of conference play on January 5th, Haines has pumped in 10+ points in all but one game played against NEC competition (20 games total). She rides a 12-game streak hitting double figures in scoring and will be playing against a BIG EAST foe for the first time in her career.

With injuries scattered all over the lineup, Jayla Davis made the most of her uptick in minutes with a career-high 19 points (7-9 FG, 2-4 3FG) in a road win at FDU (2/25). Davis reached double figures for just the third time this season and the fourth time in her career (41 games) while setting new career-highs in points, field goals, three-point field goals, free throws and minutes. The 19-point burst also marked her first time scoring double figures since netting 10 at Hofstra (11/29), spanning a total of 16 appearances. Davis' rebounding has also seen a massive mark-up as she grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds at MSM (3/7) and is averaging 6.4 RPG across the last eight games.

Stepping up big with injuries hitting the Pioneer lineup hard, graduate student Kiana Ye poured in a career-high nine points (3-4 3FG) in a road win at FDU (2/25) and added eight points on Senior Day against SFU (3/2). After missing the first 24 games of the season due to injury, Ye returned to the floor with an eight-minute appearance at CCSU (2/23) and followed with her career-game against the Knights. For Ye, she bested her previous career-high of seven which came against Monmouth during the 2016-17 season while her nine-point single-game output equaled her entire 2017-18 season scoring total (nine points in 11 games).

Sacred Heart has taken advantage of games held in the Pitt Center this season, wrapping up the regular season conference slate with an 8-1 mark at home in NEC play. The Pioneers saw their nine-game unbeaten home NEC winning streak against conference foes come to an end in an overtime loss to St. Francis Brooklyn (2/2). In the eight SHU home victories in NEC play, the Pioneers own an average scoring margin of +14.0.

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 11-5 in games in which SHU commits less than 15 turnovers and have committed fewer turnovers than their opponent in 21-of-31 games (67.7 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).

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 (19)        Losses (12)
PPG                69.2                 55.4
FG%                44.5                 32.8
3FG%              38.0                 27.9
3FG/G             7.8                   5.8
RPG                34.9                 29.4
APG                14.6                 9.7

Sacred Heart is the only team in the NEC with four players averaging double figures in scoring – Katherine Haines (16.8 PPG), Candice Leatherwood (11.7), Adrianne Hagood (11.3) and Erin Storck (10.6). 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 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 11-2 this season when holding opponents to less than 60 points and have allowed less than 50 points seven times (7-0 record in those games).

A season removed from going 5-4 in games wherein the Pioneers scored 70+ points, SHU has gone 11-0 in similar games this season as team defense has keyed the turnaround. Cumulatively, in those 11 contests the Pioneers are outscoring opponents by 214 (+19.5 per game) and have defeated six opponents by 22 points or more.

After recording the program's first-ever triple-double in a road win at St. Francis Brooklyn (1/19), 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 1999-00) to score 1000 career points. Needing 16 points to join the 1000-point club, Haines finished with 19 against Wagner (1/21). In 101 career games, Haines has 1196 points (11.8 PPG) and is currently 13th all-time in scoring at SHU.

Katherine Haines was named NEC Co-Player of the Week in the last week of the regular season, earning her league-leading fifth NEC Player of the Week honor this season. The honor comes on the heels of another dominant week, posting consecutive double-doubles in impressive victories over league powers Saint Francis U and Robert Morris. Her week started with 18 points (8-16 FG), 15 rebound and four assists as the Pioneers handed the Red Flash their biggest loss in NEC play since the 2012-13 season. Haines' 15 rebounds matched a season-high while her four-assist total is her second-highest single-game total on the season. She continued her strong play with 15 points and 11 rebounds in 40 minutes as she controlled in interior to take down Robert Morris' top-ranked NEC scoring defense. Her 13th double-double of the season redeems a road loss suffered by the Pioneers at RMU in late January that saw Haines finish with seven points for her lone non-double-digit point total in NEC play this season.

Candice Leatherwood led the way for the Pioneers in the most-recent loss to Saint Francis U (3/14) as she pumped in a playoff career-high 21 points while hitting a career-high five three-pointers while going 5-for-10 from the three-point line. Leatherwood has scored 20-plus points five times this season including three through 18 NEC games. She also continues to distribute the ball well as she owns a positive assist-to-turnover ratio in 13-of-18 NEC games thus far in 2018-19.

Owning a halftime advantage has been a huge key to the Pioneers' success all season long, as the Pioneers are 18-3 in games SHU leads at halftime. In NEC play, the Pioneers are outscoring the opposition by a combined score of 606-475 (+131, +7.3 scoring margin per game) in the first halves of games and have led at the half in 15-of-18 conference games. In those 18 NEC games, the Pioneers' largest scoring margin by-quarter is in the first period as SHU has outscored its opponents 306-228 (+78). By comparison, the next-largest scoring margin is the second quarter, wherein SHU owns a 300-247 (+53) advantage.

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).

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.

In one of the Pioneers' top defensive performances in recent memory, SHU handed Robert Morris just its second league loss of the year in a 54-45 victory from the Pitt Center (3/4). Several noteworthy stats coming from this nine-point win included:

  • SHU limited RMU to just 13 points on 5-for-28 (17.9 percent) shooting and 1-for-14 (7.1 percent) from three in the first half. The 13-point total marks the fewest points RMU has scored in any half all season while also standing as the fewest points allowed in a half by the Pioneers since Bryant was held to 12 in the first half of a game back on Jan. 28, 2013 (195 games ago)
  • The Pioneers set the tone right from the jump, holding the Colonials scoreless for 12:15 (0-for-15 shooting during that span) and to just four points in the first quarter alone. The four points allowed for SHU marks a new program record for fewest points allowed in a single-quarter, besting the previous low mark of six which had been done seven times including twice this season
  • The Pioneers held RMU to 27 percent shooting (17-for-63) for the game, which sets a new season-best for the SHU defense in terms of field goal percentage defense while marking the lowest shooting percentage for a Pioneer opponent in a single-game since holding Mount St. Mary's to 25 percent shooting on March 6, 2016

Always a consistent NEC contender, Saint Francis U was significantly limited by the Pioneers in a 77-51 SHU home win (3/2). The 26-point margin-of-victory is the biggest loss suffered by the Red Flash since falling to the Pioneers by 29 points back on Jan. 16, 2012. In addition, the 51 points for SFU is the fewest single-game total for the Red Flash in an NEC game since scoring 43 at Robert Morris on Feb. 29, 2016.

The Pioneers put together their best offensive outing of the season in an 82-63 road win at Fairleigh Dickinson (2/25) in a game that featured several season and career highs:

  • Not only did SHU set a new season-high with 14 three-pointers, but the Pioneers netted a new season-high with 82 points scored
  • The Pioneers went 28-for-46 from the floor (60.9 percent), matching their best single-game shooting percentage in the program's Division I history (since 2000-01)
  • The 14 made three-pointers is the highest total for SHU in an NEC road game in program history
  • SHU made 56 percent of their three-point attempts (14-for-25) which stands as the best mark for the Pioneers in a game since hitting 56.5 percent back on Feb. 11, 2017 against CCSU
  • Jayla Davis (19 points; 7-9 FG, 2-4 3FG) and Kiana Ye (nine points; 3-4 3FG) both set career-highs across the board in nearly every major offensive shooting statistic while Katherine Haines dished out a career-best five assists
  • A 32-point third quarter is the highest-scoring period in program history for SHU, one point higher than a 31-point fourth quarter that came in a 69-59 home win over RMU on Dec. 29, 2016 (NCAA moved to quarters at start of 2015-16)

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 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

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)


  • 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


  • 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