WBB at Saint Francis U, Sunday 3 p.m.

Steve McLaughlin Photo
Steve McLaughlin Photo

The Central Connecticut women's basketball team will travel to Saint Francis U on Sunday for a Northeast Conference Tournament Quarterfinal match-up.  The Blue Devils (16-13, 10-8 NEC) are the #5 seed in the eight team tournament and visit the #4 Red Flash (15-14, 10-8 NEC).  Saint Francis and CCSU finished the regular season tied, but tie breakers gave the Red Flash the first round home game.  The Blue Devils and Red Flash will tip-off at 3 p.m.

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Today • The #5 Blue Devils (16-13, 10-8 NEC) visit the #4 Red Flash of Saint Francis U (15-14, 10-8 NEC) in the opening round of the 2013 Northeast Conference Women's Basketball Tournament.  This is the third meeting of the season between these teams and it is also the second consecutive game that CCSU and SFU have lined up against each other.  Entering today, the season series is a split with the home team winning each time.  The Red Flash won 67-62 in Loretto on Jan. 7 and the Blue Devils won Monday night (3/4) in New Britain by a score of 76-71.  Also, CCSU's last playoff game was a NEC Semifinal loss to the Red Flash at DeGol Arena in March of 2011.

Series History • The Red Flash lead the series 21-8.  The Blue Devils' win on Monday night snapped the Red Flash's seven-game winning streak in the series.  Prior to Monday's 76-71 victory, CCSU's last win against Saint Francis U came on Feb. 9, 2009, a 70-67 overtime victory in New Britain.  Under head coach Beryl Piper, the Blue Devils are 3-2 against Saint Francis at Detrick Gym and 1-6 at DeGol Arena.

The Playoff Picture • Quarterfinals: #1 Quinnipiac hosts #8 Bryant, #2 Sacred Heart hosts #7 St. Francis BK, #3 Monmouth hosts #6 Mount St. Mary's, #4 Saint Francis U hosts #5 Central Connecticut.

Close Games • Today is the seventh meeting between CCSU and Saint Francis U in the last three seasons.  While SFU holds a 5-1 record in those contests, only one game has been decided by more than 10 points, a 68-51 victory for SFU at DeGol arena during the 2010-11 season.  The average margin of the last five games between these teams is just 5.8 points.

Eight Tournaments • This is the eighth Northeast Conference Women's Basketball Tournament appearance for the Blue Devils and the fourth in six seasons under head coach Beryl Piper.
Piper in the Playoffs • This is the fourth NEC Tournament appearance for the Blue Devils in six seasons under head coach Beryl Piper.  Prior to Piper's arrival, CCSU women's basketball had made four NEC Tournament appearances in 10 seasons and advanced to the semifinals just once.  Piper has never failed to make it out of the first round in any of her tournament appearances.

16 Wins • The 16 wins this season are the fifth most for a Blue Devil women's basketball team during the Division I era.  The program's Division I record for wins is 21, set by the 1989-90 team.  The 2010-11 team's 19 victories are second and the 18 wins from the 2008-09 team rank third.  The 1997-98 team holds the fourth spot with 17 victories.

All-NEC First Team • Central Connecticut women's basketball senior Jaclyn Babe was named First Team All-Northeast Conference on Thursday morning.  This is the second straight season that Babe has earned postseason honors from the NEC.  Last season she was selected to the All-NEC second team. In just two seasons, Babe has scored 893 points for the Blue Devils.  Along with her 191 points during two seasons at Duquesne, she has totaled 1,084 points as a Division I college basketball player. Among her NEC peers, Babe ranked fourth in points/game (16.0), fifth in free throw percentage (82.1%), fifth in steals/game (2.61), sixth in minutes/game (34.4),  13th in field goal percentage (42.9%) and 13th in assists/game (2.86). Last season, Babe became the fifth women's basketball player in CCSU history to earn a place on the All-NEC first or second teams.  This year she becomes the fourth Blue Devil to earn first team honors from the conference and she joins Gabriella Guegbelet as the only players in program history to earn multiple first or second team All-NEC nods.

CCSU & the NEC Tournament • The Blue Devils are making their eighth trip, fourth under head coach Beryl Piper, to the NEC Tournament.  CCSU has a 4-7 record in the NEC Tournament and a 3-3 mark under Piper.  The Blue Devils best finish in the NEC Tournament is reaching the semifinals, which the team has done four times.  CCSU reached the semifinals in 1997-98 and the Blue Devils went to three straight semifinals (2009, 2010, 2011) under head coach Beryl Piper.

Last Six Games • Over the final six games of the regular season the Blue Devils have posted a 5-1 record.  CCSU's five victories have all been by ten points or less.

True Rubber Match • CCSU and Saint Francis U have met twice this season with the home team winning each time.  Today's game is a true rubber match in the sense that not only have these teams split two games, but also because when you combine the scores of both games you get a 138-138 tie.

Vs. the Field • The Blue Devils were 6-6 this season against the eight teams that made the postseason.  CCSU was 5-1 at home in those games, but 1-5 on the road.  CCSU has only met three of this year's playoff teams in the NEC Tournament before #2 Sacred Heart, #4 Saint Francis U and #6 Mount St. Mary's.  The Blue Devils are 2-0 vs. Sacred Heart, 0-2 vs. Saint Francis and 0-1 vs. the Mount.

Free Points • The Blue Devils scored 76 points against the Red Flash on Monday with 31 (31-of-36) of those coming at the free throw line.  CCSU was led at the line by senior Jaclyn Babe (12-14) and sophomore Kaley Watras (10-12).  Babe was CCSU's leading scorer with 29 and Watras was next with 21 points.

Things to Remember • This season, the Blue Devils are...9-3 in day games...13-1 when leading at the half...6-1 when scoring more than 70 points.

Round Numbers • Senior Jaclyn Babe reached 1,000 career points this season, senior Kirsten Daamen passed 800 career points, junior Jessica Babe topped 600 career points, sophomore Kaley Watras passed 400 career points and junior Lauren Arbogast is just 10 points shy of 500 for her career.  Also Kirsten Daamen needs just two blocks for 200 in her career.

Six Straight For Watras • Sophomore Kaley Watras has scored 10+ points in six straight games.  It is the longest double-digit scoring streak of her career.  Against Bryant she recorded a career-high 26 points.  Over the last six games Watras has scored 99 points, a 16.5 pts/g average.