The Central Connecticut women's basketball team defeated Sacred Heart 70-58 on Senior Day on Saturday afternoon in Detrick Gymnasium. With the victory, the Blue Devils improve to 16-10 overall on the season and 12-3 in the Northeast Conference. Sacred Heart falls to 13-11 overall and 8-6 in NEC play.
The 12 wins in the NEC ties the most wins in conference for the Blue Devils under the direction of head coach Beryl Piper. The last time CCSU recorded 12 wins in the NEC dates back to the 2008-09 season when the Blue Devils finished 18-14 overall and earned a trip to the postseason NIT.
The victory also moves the Blue Devils into a three-way tie for first place a top the NEC standings at 11-3, after the Bryant Bulldogs knocked off the Robert Morris Colonials today 69-66. The Blue Devils are already guaranteed to host a first round home game in the NEC Tournament that starts on Mar. 8 and with today's victory, CCSU will be no lower than a third seed in this year's tournament.
The Blue Devils used efficient shooting from the field and from behind the arc to take a 35-25 lead at the end of the first half against Sacred Heart. CCSU shot 50.0% (12-24) from the floor and 54.5% (6-11) from distance prior to the intermission.
The Pioneers jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead to start the game, including six points on two three pointers from SHU's Gabrielle Washington.
The Blue Devils would respond, however, with a huge 14-0 run to take their first lead of the game, 19-10. The run was highlighted by eight-straight points in just over a minute by freshman Camden Musgrave, who hit two triples during the quick spurt. Central's defense kept Sacred Heart scoreless for eight-straight minutes during the run.
The CCSU lead would extend to as many as 13, 32-19, in the first half after the Blue Devils hit three-straight three pointers in three-straight possessions, including back-to-back triples from junior Nicole Ferguson.
Ferguson hit her third three of the half, the Blue Devils fourth-straight, to take the 35-25 lead into the locker room.
Ferguson led the Blue Devils at the break with nine points on three-of-four shooting from the floor, all of which were three point attempts. Musgrave followed with eight on three-of-six shooting from the field, including two-of-four from distance.
In the second half, Sacred Heart erased the 10-point halftime deficit and tied the game 42-42 with 13:08 left on the clock. The Pioneers used a 9-0 run, including five from redshirt junior Hannah Kimmel, to tie the game.
Central would respond again, however, with another huge 13-2 run over the next five minutes of the game to lead 55-44 with 7:24 to play. This time it was sophomore Aleah Epps who produced most of the offensive output during the run, netting eight of the 13 points.
The Pioneers would cut the lead to seven with 3 minutes remaining in the game, but SHU wouldn't get any closer as Musgrave hit a three on the next possession to end any threat of a run. Musgrave also connected on six-of-six from the free throw line in the final minutes to seal the 70-58 victory.
Musgrave logged a game-high 20 points, the second time in her freshman campaign that she has recorded a 20 point game, on five-of-10 shooting from the floor. She hit three-of-six three point attempts and was seven-of-eight from the charity stripe.
Sophomore Aleah Epps followed with 11 points on four-of-nine shooting from the field, including one-of-two from three. She added five rebounds, an assist and a career-high four steals in 38 minutes of action.
Redshirt freshman Lauren Wolosik led CCSU in rebounding with a career-high seven boards.
The Blue Devils turned 18 Pioneer turnovers into 25 points and the CCSU bench outscored the SHU bench 36-8.
Central shot 47.8% (22-46) in the game and 41.2% (7-17) from behind the arc. The Blue Devils also connected on 67.9% (19-28) of their free throw attempts.
Sacred Heart was led by Gabrielle Washington with a team-high 16 points. The Pioneers shot 36.0% (18-50) from the field, 23.8% (5-21) from three and 60.7% (17-28) from the line in the game.
CCSU will return to action on Monday night, at home, at 7 p.m. against Saint Francis (PA). The game has been designated "Think Pink" night in recognition of breast cancer awareness and the Kay Yow Foundation. Wear pink to the game or pick-up a pink t-shirt at the door for $10 to support the Kay Yow Foundation. Monday night's contest will also be the final regular season home game for the Blue Devils.