Sacred Heart defends NEC championship 69-48 behind Pryor's big game

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) — Ny’Ceara Pryor scored 18 points and Sacred Heart, with a second-consecutive NCAA berth in hand, rolled to a 69-48 win over LeMoyne in the Northeast Conference Tournament championship game on Sunday.

The Pioneers' fifth NCAA berth was secured in the semifinals because the Dolphins are transitioning to Division I and are ineligible for the NCAA Tournament. Le Moyne will play in the WNIT.

In addition to adding six rebounds, six assists and five steals, the 5-foot-3 sophomore Pryor, the two-time NEC Player of the Year, set the Sacred Heart single-season scoring record at 624 points. She needed 14 points to tie.

Amelia Wood added 15 points and Sajada Bonner had 10 for the Pioneers (24-9), who have won 15 straight since a 60-56 home loss to Le Moyne. The streak included a 73-55 win at Le Moyne and two NEC Tournament games by 30 points — which was also the margin in the championship game until coach Jessica Mannetti emptied her bench with more than three minutes to go.

LyToya Baker and Kaia Good both had 11 points for the Dolphins (18-14). Le Moyne, which had eight points in each of the first three quarters, doubled its score in the fourth.

Pryor set the tone in the first quarter with eight points, three assists and three steals and the Pioneers, who beat Southern in an NCAA First Four game last year, took a 17-8 lead. Le Moyne had nine turnovers and Sacred Heart had 10 fast break points.

Despite Pryor sitting out a big chunk of the second quarter after picking up her second foul Sacred Heart upped the lead to 32-16 at halftime. The lead was stretched to 50-24 after three quarters.

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