A strong fourth quarter comeback and excellent free throw shooting carried the Central Connecticut women's basketball team to its third straight win on Saturday over the visiting Bryant Bulldogs, 66-59. The Blue Devils held Bryant to just 3-of-15 (.200) from the field in the game's final quarter as Central went 7-for-12 (.583) and out-scored the Bulldogs 22-10.
Central Connecticut's three-game winning streak marks the longest win streak since they started Northeast Conference play 6-0 during the 2016-17 season. The Blue Devils advance to 5-7 in the league and 5-18 on the year. Bryant (7-16, 6-6 NEC) was limited to 31.7 percent (19-60) from the field and a 21.1 percent (4-19) effort from three-point range.
Freshman Ashley Forker pulled down two crucial rebounds and swatted back-to-back blocks in the game's final minute that sealed the win for CCSU. Junior Andi Lydon paced the Blue Devils with her second double-double of the season, posting a pair of game-highs with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Junior Kiana Patterson was second in scoring with 14 points.
Patterson went 4-for-4 from the foul line in the final 30 seconds, adding to the Blue Devils tremendous effort at the line, as they ended the day 20-of-21 (.952).
Patterson wasted no time at all putting the Blue Devils on the boards in the game's first 16 seconds with a three-pointer off a pass from Lydon. On the Blue Devils' third possession of the game, the duo hooked up again, this timing with roles reversed, to take a 6-2 early edge over the Bulldogs.
Following the first media break, Bryant knotted up the score at 14-14 at the 2:53 mark and again at the 1:31 mark, both off free throws from the Bulldogs leading scorer and rebounder, sophomore Sydney Holloway.
The Blue Devils concluded the first period on a 4-0 spurt to lead 20-16.
The Bulldogs collected the first four points of the second quarter to tie the game at 20-20, before Lydon stopped the run with a baby hook in the lane at the 7:44 mark. Holloway gave Bryant its first lead of the contest, 24-23, on a side-stepping layup with 5:36 to go before the intermission.
Bryant built a seven-point lead 34-27 after a 10-0 run late in the second quarter. Freshman Emma McCamus would end the drought with a pair of free throws at the 46 second mark and sophomore Ashley Chin cut into the lead once more with CCSU's fourth three of the first half.
The Bulldogs held a 34-32 advantage at halftime. Holloway led Bryant with 12 points and Lydon paced Central with nine points at the midway point. CCSU shot a weak 9-of-35 (.257) from the floor and Bryant ended the half going 11-for-32 (.344).
The Blue Devils fell behind by eight points, 47-39, marking the largest lead by either team in the game, after getting out-scored 13-7 in the opening 7:52 of the third quarter. Patterson connected on 3-of-3 foul shots after getting hacked on the attempt from downtown and freshman Ashley Berube sank a jumper in the lane to make the score 49-44 at the end of the third period.
Having won just one game all season trailing after the third quarter, Central Connecticut's McCamus ignited the comeback with five straight points including a three-pointer right in front of the Blue Devil bench to tie the game at 49-49 with 8:54 to go in regulation. Forker capped off a 9-0 CCSU run giving the New Britain crew its first lead at 51-49 since the 3:51 mark in the third period.
Lydon added to her 21 points and fueled the momentum with an old-fashion three-point play and a turn-around jump shot, giving CCSU a five-point edge with 4:29 to go. Bryant's Kierra Palmer cut the lead to 60-59 with 1:13, but Lydon responded with a smooth jumper in the lane on the following possession oust Bryant's opportunity to take the lead.
McCamus broke out an 11-point performance and was flawless from the charity stripe, draining 6-of-6. Holloway led Bryant with 19 points and 9 rebounds. The Blue Devils out-rebounded their opponent for the third consecutive game, 47-40.
The Central Connecticut women's basketball team will have its second bye of the NEC slate on Monday, Feb. 12 before traveling to Wagner on Saturday, Feb. 17 for a 1:00 p.m. game in Staten Island, NY. CCSU will then head to Mount St. Mary's on Monday, Feb. 19 to face the Mountaineers at 7:00 p.m.