BY Jordan Banks
The Sacred Heart Women’s Basketball team got their season underway in early November, since the start they have posted a 3-4 record with the three wins coming against Hofstra University, the University of Bridgeport, and Detroit-Mercy College.
Redshirt-Junior guard Nikki Johnson is one of the players who got off to an extremely hot start, in her first two games she racked up a total of 46 points, she is currently averaging 11 points, four rebounds and four assists per game.
“We have grown as a team, and our offense is flowing better,” said Johnson. “We now know our strengths and weaknesses and we have been able to work on them and grow.”
Junior guard, Adrianne Hagood, has been the focal point of the teams scoring. Since the start of the season, she has averaged 18.3 points per game while scoring 20 points or more in three of the six games she’s played in.
“I always make sure I get in the gym and get shots up and keep confidence in my shot,” said Hagood. “I make sure I work on things in practice as well so it will be easier for me and flow better in the game.”
Against the University of Bridgeport, Hagood dropped a career high of 29 points.
“Adrianne is something special,” said head coach, Jessica Mannetti. “She plays hard on both ends, and our most dynamic scorer.”
Mannetti is coming off of coaching the Pioneers to a league-record twentieth consecutive NEC Tournament appearance. She coached the Pioneers to the semifinal round for the fourth straight year and earning a spot in the WNIT for the fourth time in the last seven seasons.
As the season progresses, Mannetti’s mindset is to continue to improve on both ends of the court.
“We need to work on our defensive consistency and taking care of the ball. Our goals are to get a little better each day, so as long as we do that, we will get better,” said Mannetti. “However, even though we may go through a rough patch, we are still good at staying together and being connected.”
The Pioneers also have a group of five new freshmen trying to integrate themselves into the system.
“The rotation changes every day, it fluctuates. They have been challenged because college basketball has much more physical and mental demand,” said Mannetti. “They definitely have a lot to learn.”
According to junior guard/forward Olivia Dabney, the freshmen have adjusted and have helped impact the team’s performance.
“Everyone brings something to the table,” said Dabney. “They have done a great job trusting the process and adjusting to the culture. Our coach has a team phrase which is to ‘never give up’ and we have done a really good job in honoring that.”
The Pioneers will have challenging non-conference games in the future at schools such as Big Ten Conference foes Nebraska, and Penn State.
“We have a really tough schedule, but every game is a chance to get better. We want to win 50/50 balls, play through failure, stay positive and resilient, and focus on program growth,” said Mannetti. “I love the ‘never give up’ slogan that was chosen by the players, they wanted to be held accountable. We want to ask ourselves, ‘Did we not give up?’ If the answer is yes, then we grow as a team.”