LORETTO, CAMBRIA COUNTY – Behind a 28 point, 10 rebound performance from Alli Williams, the Saint Francis University women’s basketball team beat Sacred Heart, 89-80, on Saturday afternoon while picking up its sixth straight victory.
Williams earned her 10th double-double of the season and 47th of her illustrious Red Flash (10-12, 8-3) career, while SFU earned just its first regular season victory over the Pioneers (10-12, 7-4) since the 2009-10 campaign.
“I am really excited for how we played today and getting a win in a playoff type atmosphere against a very talented Sacred Heart team,” SFU head coach Joe Haigh said. “What really excites me is how we still came away with a victory despite not playing our best basketball. We have improved so much over the past two months, and we can continue to get better.”
It was Aisha Brock who scored the first bucket of the contest and started Saint Francis on a 6-0 run to open the game. Sacred Heart battled back and took its largest lead of the half at the 17:08 mark when it led by three.
Hot shooting led SFU to a nine point lead more than half way through the period as Corissa Archer knocked in a free throw to give the Flash the 31-22 advantage with 8:41 to play. Saint Francis shot 50% for the opening frame and led 48-41 at halftime.
To open the second period, the Frankies extended its lead to 11 after a lay-in from Shaqeia Stokes. The Pioneers then embarked on a 17-6 run and tied the game at 64 with 11:10 to play.
SFU got the lead back up to 10 with just over six minutes to play, but would have to fight off one last Sacred Heart push.
Saint Francis held the 82-80 advantage with 3:10 to play, when Saint Francis knocked down seven of eight free throws to put the Pioneers away for good.
Williams finished with a 13-of-14 clip from the charity stripe and SFU as a team shot 74% (26-35) from the line. The Flash also won the rebounding battle, 45-36.
“When it’s a close game it can go either way, so I had to keep myself composed to hit free throws down the stretch,” Alli Williams said.
Aisha Brock scored all 17 of her points in the first half and posted a career-high five steals. Alexa Hayward added 14 points off a 6-of-13 shooting day.
Corissa Archer registered eight rebounds for the second straight game.
Saint Francis welcomes St. Francis Brooklyn for a 7 p.m. match-up on Monday evening. SFU won the lone meeting last season in Brooklyn, 64-53.
--St. Francis Athletic Communications