NEW BRITAIN - Turnovers kill.
In a game in which the CCSU women’s basketball team led in almost every statistical category against St. Francis University, it was that one which made the difference on a night that featured 10 ties and 12 lead changes on Monday.
The Blue Devils’ bench outscored St. Francis’ 22-2 and dominated on the glass 54-to-32, but CCSU committed 27 turnovers. The Red Flash only 10 as the Blue Devils fell 72-70.
CCSU (9-18, 8-8) cut into S. Francis’ largest lead of the game, 10 points, with 3:31 left in the fourth quarter thanks to a 9-0 run, but was unable to pull out the victory in the final possessions.
Freshman Cebria Outlow led the Blue Devils with a career-high 21 points in her first start since Dec. 31 at St. Francis Brooklyn, with sophomore Andi Lydon out of the lineup due to an injury, while senior Chayla Lewis grabbed two career highs with 10 rebounds and four assists.
St. Francis (14-13, 11-5) struggled from the get-go, shooting just 1-of-12 from the field, and 0-for-5 from three to start the game, as CCSU jumped out to an early 10-3 lead. The Red Flash responded with a 7-0 run of their own and tied up the score at 14-all at the end of the first quarter.
Outlow connected on one of her three triples on the first possession of second quarter, but the Red Flash connected on six 3-pointers despite the slow start. And at the break, the Blue Devils trailed 39-36.
The second half stated out slowly for CCSU as sophomore Kiana Patterson hit a 3-pointer to bring the Blue Devils with five points of St. Francis heading into the final frame.
Patterson continued her quality shooting in the fourth quarter hitting two three’s to score the first six points of the frame for CCSU. But the Red Flash’s Courtney Zezza and Jessica Kovatch answered Patterson with two strikes from beyond the arc themselves, keeping the lead at 66-57.
Outlow’s layup with 3:11, however, sparked the 9-0 Blue Devil run.
In the stretch, senior Aleah Epps, stripped Katie Reese of the ball at halfcourt and finished the play on the other end with 1:55 left. Epps found Hines on the proceeding possession for a 3-pointer at 1:25 that pulled CCSU to within one, 71-70. However, two turnovers in CCSU's last chance opportunities all but secured the win for St. Francis.
The Blue Devils will host St. Francis Brooklyn on Saturday at 1 p.m. in their last home game of the regular season.