FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Entering their 21st season at the NCAA Division I level, the Sacred Heart women's basketball team begins its 2019-20 season with a slate of 11 non-conference matchups, as announced by head coach Jessica Mannetti on Thursday afternoon.
Coming off a successful 19-win campaign last season, SHU advanced to the WNIT for the fourth time in program history while also advancing to a national postseason tournament for the sixth time in the last nine seasons. The Pioneers continued their dominance in the Northeast Conference, going 14-4 in the regular season to earn the No. 2 seed and a trip to the NEC Tournament for a conference record 20th consecutive season.
The 2019-20 non-conference schedule includes a Thanksgiving week trip to Las Vegas for the South Point Shootout wherein the Pioneers will take on a pair of first-time opponents in Detroit Mercy and Nebraska. Among the 11 games are four repeat opponents from 2018-19 (Siena, Hofstra, Saint Joseph's and Stony Brook) as well as a trip to Penn State for the Pioneers' final non-conference game on Dec. 22. Three games will be hosted at the Pitt Center as SHU will face Hofstra (Nov. 10), Bridgeport (Nov. 20) and Holy Cross (Dec. 14) at home.
GAME 1 – at Seton Hall
Wednesday, Nov. 6
South Orange, N.J.
2018-19 Record: 15-16, 7-11 BIG EAST
2018-19 Finish: Lost to St. John's in BIG EAST First Round, lost to Toledo in WNIT First Round
All-Time Record vs. Seton Hall: 0-3
Last Meeting: 2/13/79 – Seton Hall 66, Sacred Heart 59
Notes: A season-opening tilt at Seton Hall marks the first time these two sides have faced one another at the Div. I level … the teams played three games in a two-season span in 1977-79 while both were in the NCAA Div. II ranks … the Pirates are the lone non-conference foe SHU faces in 2019-20 that advanced to a national postseason tournament last season … Seton Hall was a dominant home team in 2018-19, going 11-4 overall at the Walsh Gymnasium and just 4-12 in games played away from South Orange.
GAME 2 – Hofstra
Colonial Athletic Association
Sunday, Nov. 10
2018-19 Record: 11-22, 3-15 CAA
2018-19 Finish: Lost to Towson in CAA semifinals, upset top-seeded James Madison in CAA quarterfinal round
All-Time Record vs. Hofstra: 1-3
Last Meeting: 11/29/18 – Sacred Heart 70, Hofstra 64
Notes: Adrianne Hagood netted 16 points while Jayla Davis came off the bench to score 10 points in a 70-64 road win over the Pride last season … The six-point road triumph marked the first victory for the Pioneers over Hofstra in four all-time meetings … This marks the third straight season in which the team sides have faced one another … Coach Mannetti served as an assistant with the Pride for four seasons prior to taking the head coaching role at SHU in 2013-14.
GAME 3 – at Siena
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
Saturday, Nov. 16
Alumni Recreation Center
2018-19 Record: 12-18, 8-10 MAAC
2018-19 Finish: Lost to Iona in MAAC first round
All-Time Record vs. Siena: 5-4
Last Meeting: 11/13/18 – Sacred Heart 72, Siena 50
Notes: Four Pioneers recorded double digit point totals in a convincing 22-point home win over Siena … This will be the 10th all-time meeting against the Saints as SHU looks to improve their 1-3 road record in games played in Loudonville … Since the start of this series in 2009-10, the Pioneers and Saints have played one another in 10 of the last 11 seasons (2015-16 the lone exception).
GAME 4 – Bridgeport
East Coast Conference
Wednesday, Nov. 20
2018-19 Record: 12-17, 8-10 ECC
2018-19 Finish: Lost at NYIT in ECC quarterfinal road
All-Time Record vs. Bridgeport: 22-30 (1-0 since joining NCAA Div. I)
Last Meeting: 11/18/2014 – Sacred Heart 84, Bridgeport 41
Notes: The Pioneers are set to face a former longtime league rival in the University of Bridgeport Purple Knights … A former fixture on the slate when the Pioneers were playing at the Div. II level, this marks just the second time since the Pioneers elevated to Div. I (in 1999-00) that the two sides are facing one another … With 52 all-time meetings heading into 2019-20, the Purple Knights are tied with Central Connecticut State as the most-often played opponent in SHU women's basketball history.
GAME 5 – at Stony Brook
Sunday, Nov. 24
Island Federal Credit Union Arena
Stony Brook, N.Y.
2018-19 Record: 23-8, 11-5 A.E.
2018-19 Finish: Lost to Hartford in America East semifinal round
All-Time Record vs. Stony Brook: 10-7
Last Meeting: 12/4/18 – Stony Brook 73, Sacred Heart 58
Notes: The Seawolves finished 23-8 last season, putting together their highest single-season win total since 2013-14 and second-most wins since joining NCAA Division I in 1999-00 … Stony Brook went 10-for-23 from three in last season's 73-58 victory over the Pioneers in Fairfield … In three matchups played in Stony Brook with both teams in the Div. I level, the Pioneers are 0-3 in those contests.
GAME 6 – vs. Detroit Mercy (South Point Shootout)
Friday, Nov. 29
South Point Arena
Las Vegas, Nev.
2018-19 Record: 4-25, 2-16 Horizon
2018-19 Finish: Did not qualify for the Horizon League Tournament
All-Time Record vs. Detroit Mercy: First All-Time Meeting
Notes: The first all-time meeting against the Titans will come in Las Vegas as SHU is set to participate in their first regular season tournament since the San Juan Shootout in 2015-16 … Detroit Mercy has struggled the last two seasons, accumulating just six wins in 2017-18 and 2018-19 combined.
GAME 7 – vs. Nebraska (South Point Shootout)
Saturday, Nov. 30
South Point Arena
Las Vegas, Nev.
2018-19 Record: 14-16, 9-9 Big Ten
2018-19 Finish: Lost to Purdue in Big Ten Tournament second round
All-Time Record vs. Nebraska: First All-Time Meeting
Notes: The first of two Big Ten opponents in 2019-20 for the Pioneers, Nebraska is a 14-time NCAA Tournament participant (most-recently in 2018) … SHU will be looking for their first-ever win over a Big Ten foe (0-5 all-time).
GAME 8 – at Saint Joseph's
Wednesday, Dec. 4
2018-19 Record: 12-19, 7-9 A-10
2018-19 Finish: Fell to VCU in A-10 quarterfinals
All-Time Record vs. Saint Joseph's: 0-3
Last Meeting: 12/20/18 – Saint Joseph's 61, Sacred Heart 44
Notes: Sacred Heart struggled shooting just 28.6 percent from the floor in a 61-44 loss to the Hawks at home last season … The last time SHU faced SJU in Philadelphia was back in the 2011-12 season when the Pioneers fell 63-54 in Hagan Arena.
GAME 9 – Holy Cross
Saturday, Dec. 14
2018-19 Record: 18-13, 9-9 Patriot
2018-19 Finish: Fell to top-seed Bucknell in Patriot League semifinal
All-Time Record vs. Holy Cross: 0-1
Last Meeting: 11/27/1981 – Holy Cross 75, Sacred Heart 48
Notes: Despite being a less than three-hour drive away, this marks just the second all-time meeting between these two schools and the first-ever at the Div. I level … Holy Cross rallied past Boston Univ. in the Patriot League quarterfinal last season, advancing to the semifinal round for the first time since 2013-14 … The Crusaders finished with 18 wins in 2018-19, marking the first time since 2013-14 that Holy Cross recorded a winning season.
GAME 10 – at Yale
Thursday, Dec. 19
John J. Lee Amphitheater
New Haven, Conn.
2018-19 Record: 16-13, 6-8 Ivy
2018-19 Finish: Did not qualify for the Ivy League Tournament
All-Time Record vs. Yale: 13-4
Last Meeting: 11/16/13 – Sacred Heart 67, Yale 54
Notes: Renewing a former annual fixture, this marks the first time these two in-state foes have played one another since the 2013-14 season … Since being elevated to Div. I in 1999-00, SHU is 10-0 in games played against Yale … Despite missing out on the Ivy League Tournament, Yale's 16-win season in 2018-19 was good enough for the third-highest single-season win total in program history.
GAME 11 – at Penn State
Sunday, Dec. 22
Bryce Jordan Center
University Park, Pa.
2018-19 Record: 12-18, 5-13 Big Ten
2018-19 Finish: Lost to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Tournament First Round
All-Time Record vs. Penn State: 0-1
Last Meeting: 12/20/15 – Penn State 83, Sacred Heart 46
Notes: Meeting for the second time, the Pioneers finish up their non-conference slate with a trip to Penn State … The Nittany Lions welcome first-year Carolyn Kieger, who shined at Marquette, leading the Golden Eagles to three consecutive NCAA Tournament berths.