NEW BRITAIN - The CCSU women’s basketball team is officially on a role.
The Blue Devils took control early in their game against Fairleigh Dickinson (3-13, 1-4) on Saturday afternoon and cruised to a 68-49 win, their fifth straight to start NEC play. The 5-0 NEC record keeps CCSU (6-10) in first place in the conference.
“We are feeling pretty good right now,” CCSU head coach Beryl Piper said. “The girls are pretty excited with how things are going and their confidence continues to grow.”
The Blue Devils held a double-digit lead for much of the game but their second half performance paled in comparison to the first. In the end though, CCSU was still able to win yet again and did more good things than bad in the game.
“I thought we came out and played well in the first half,” Piper said. “The second half wasn’t as good. We committed a lot of stupid fouls and ended up with 22 turnovers which just can’t happen. But we scored 68 and held them below 50 so I can’t really complain because we got the win.”
CCSU got contributions across the board in the victory, but it was Andi Lydon that led the way as she posted a double-double with a career-high 18 points and 11 rebounds.
“My teammates were looking for me early on and I was able to hit a couple of threes to get it going,” said Lydon, who scored 15 of her 18 points in the first half. “Coach has been on us about boxing out and rebounding too so I was focused on that.”
Lydon was one of three Blue Devils to score in double figures in the game. Joining here were Kiana Patterson, who had a game-high six assists with her 12 points, and Giocelis Reynoso, who had nine rebounds to go along with her 13 points. Aleah Epps, the team’s leading scorer at 11.4 points per game, only had four points on 2-8 shooting against the Knights, but still made an impact with her seven rebounds and four assists.
“Aleah didn’t have a great game scoring but she still made an impact,” said Piper of her team’s unselfishness. “We have so many different kids that can score. When we are driving and looking for our teammates we are so good and you saw that today.”
CCSU came out in the early going and missed a few easy layups. Midway through the first quarter though, the Blue Devils cranked up the offense and started clicking. Led by Andi Lydon’s eight points, CCSU ended an impressive first up 21-10. As a team the Blue Devils made three of their seven attempts from beyond the arc in the opening period to help the offensive outburst.
“We were getting open layups in the beginning,” Lydon said. “They weren’t falling in the beginning, but the fact that we were able to get them gave us confidence that we would be able to get good looks all game.”
Lydon kept it going early in the second quarter as she scored the first four points of the frame for either side, increasing CCSU’s lead to 15 less than a minute in. The lead hovered around 15 for much of the second quarter and with two minutes left the Blue Devils were able to extend that lead to 21 with a 6-0 run keyed by a couple of buckets from Ashley Chin. A couple of free throws from Fairleigh Dickinson’s Madelynn Comly with five seconds left in the half cut the lead to 19 which is where it stood at halftime for CCSU.
The Knights came out of the break and went on a 13-4 run to trim the deficit to 10. CCSU responded to Fairleigh Dickinson’s run with six straight points to regain control of the game. The Blue Devils entered the fourth quarter with a comfortable 48-35 lead.
The fourth quarter was being played evenly until the middle when CCSU once again took control. The scoring was spread out for the Blue Devils during that stretch, but Reynoso had an equally big impact on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, as she did for much of the game.
“I thought we played really good team basketball today,” Lydon said. “We put the team first and the win first and that’s why we have been so successful. We are not taking it as I, but as a team.”
Michael Woolfson can be reached at (860) 801-5203 or firstname.lastname@example.org