Pio’s On The Rise as Mannetti Pins 100 NEC Wins

The Sacred Heart Women’s Basketball Team is 10-10 this season and is in second place in the Northeast Conference (NEC)

Their win over Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) on Jan. 21 was head coach Jessica Mannetti’s 100th career NEC win.

“The NEC wins and all the wins in my career can be accredited to my assistant coaches, the support staff, and the players. They have all done a tremendous job,” said Mannetti.

The players were very excited for Coach Mannetti’s milestone.

“She puts in a lot of work and is very detail-oriented. She takes time away from her personal life to make sure that we are ok. We were ecstatic that we were able to get her 100th win,” said graduate student Sajada Bonner.

After starting the season just 1-8, the team is 9-2 over their last 11 games.

“Our expectations as a staff are to continue to have our team get better. If we can do that we will always leave a great effort on the floor,” Mannetti said.

The Pioneers have outplayed their original expectations. According to northeastconference.org, they were predicted to finish sixth in the NEC.

“At the beginning of the season we were a whole new team, but now we are meshing together. I think the biggest thing for us is to have each other’s backs out there because we are all we got on the court,” said freshman Ny’Ceara Pryor.

Pryor has been a major contributor for the Pioneers this season, as her 17.5 points per game leads the team.

“Her impact has a ripple effect. She has really embraced her role here as a starting point guard. She’s done a tremendous job and has made a positive impact both on and off the court. This is only the beginning for her and she is going to be very special if she continues,” said Mannetti.

Her teammates agree that Pryor has been an asset to the Pioneers.

“She’s made a huge impact starting with her energy. We play off of her and how she plays. We play off her energy,” said Bonner.

Pryor has been the NEC Rookie of the Week eight times. She has a chance to be named the NEC Player of the Year this season.

“It would be amazing, but I really want an NEC Championship more than anything. The player of the year is just an individual thing,” Pryor said.

Besides Pryor, Bonner, who transferred to Sacred Heart from Quinnipiac University, has also impressed this season for the Pioneers. Bonner is second on the team in points per game behind Pryor with 10.7 points per game.

“Sajada is a ball of positive energy. She is so fun to coach. She works so hard all the time and she is a dynamic shooter. She’s made a big impact and has been able to come in having high level game experience and has been able to contribute. I’m excited to see where her game can still go,” said Mannetti.

The Pioneers are back in action on Thursday, February 2 when they take on Wagner College at the Spiro Sports Center in Staten Island, NY.

Sacred Heart Athletics contributed to this article.

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