Blue Devils Earn Top Seed in NEC Tournament

Blue Devils Earn Top Seed in NEC Tournament

The Central Connecticut women's basketball team improved to 18-10 overall and 14-3 in the Northeast Conference after a 77-56 victory over the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights (9-19, 6-11 NEC) on Saturday afternoon in Teaneck, NJ. With the win the Blue Devils officially clinched at least a share the NEC regular season title and the top seed in the NEC Tournament. 

They have earned the top seed and will play in Detrick Gym throughout the NEC Tournament that starts on Sunday, March 8. The Blue Devils are 9-0 against NEC opponents at home this year.

The regular season title is the first for the Blue Devils in the NEC, as they continue to set a new standard for league wins with their 14th of the season. 

Redshirt freshman Lauren Wolosik led the Blue Devils in the win over the Knights with 15 points and four assists. Junior TeJahne Malone picked up her eighth double-double of the season in the victory with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

The Blue Devils are the regular season champions following the win and a Bryant loss earlier on Saturday afternoon. The Blue Devils play at Bryant on Monday night in the regular season finale.  Central would win any tie-breaker scenario with Bryant or Robert Morris if the teams should end the regular season tied in the league standings.

Winning the NEC regular season guarantees Central a trip to the postseason, beyond the NEC Tournament. The championship qualifies the Blue Devils for the Women's Postseason WNIT, which would mark the second trip to the WNIT in program history, should they not advance to the NCAA Tournament.

The Blue Devils matched their largest halftime lead of the season and led the Knights by 19, 43-24, behind 10 first half points by Malone. She was three-of-six shooting from the floor and connected on four-of-five free throw attempts. Malone also led with nine rebounds heading into the locker room.

Central used separate 7-0 and 8-0 runs to pull away from the Knights in the first half. The Blue Devils trailed for only 11 seconds early in the half and built their lead to as many as 21 before the break.

In the second stanza, the Knights chipped away and cut the Blue Devil lead down to 10, 62-52, with just over eight minutes to play in regulation.

CCSU would respond, however, and in a big way. The Blue Devils closed the game on 15-4 run to build their lead back to 21, 77-56, as the final buzzer sounded.

The Blue Devils finished with four players in double-figures, led by Wolosik's 15 points. Malone sunk 14 and seniors Amanda Harrington and Kaley Watras added 12 and 10 respectively.

Central shot 55.0% (33-60) from the floor in the game and hit for 30.0% (3-10) from behind the arc. They also shot 88.9% (8-9) from the free throw line in the win.

The Blue Devils defense limited the Knights to 39.3% (24-61) shooting from the field. It marks the 14th time in 17 NEC contests that Central has kept its opponents under 40.0% shooting from the floor. The Blue Devils are 13-1 in those games. The Knights also finished 23.1% (3-13) from three and hit 50.0% (5-10) of their free throw attempts.

CCSU dominated on the glass in the victory, outrebounding FDU 40-27. It marks the 13th time in 17 league games this season that the Blue Devils have outrebounded a league opponent.

The Blue Devils will travel to Bryant on Monday night at 7 p.m. for their final regular season game of the season.

The NEC Tournament will begin on Sunday, Mar. 8 when Central hosts the to-be-determined #8 seed at 2 p.m.  Tickets will go on sale on Tuesday morning online at www.CCSUTickets.com.

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