NEW BRITAIN - With the New Year, new expectations are set and for the Central Connecticut State women’s basketball team, Sunday’s game against Wagner was a step in the right direction.
The Blue Devils were winless on the season coming into the contest at 0-12, but the 59-56 win over the Seahawks finally put the program in the win column.
“To get the monkey off the back is just amazing,” CCSU head coach Beryl Piper said. “There was so much pressure on us not winning and you could feel it and every time we would lose you would just feel more pressure.”
It all started on the offensive end of the floor for the Blue Devils. Specifically, ball movement was big as CCSU played in rhythm as a team on offense.
“We talked a lot the other day about having more touches on the offensive end, not just one pass and trying to score,” Piper said. “Every time we pass the ball at least three times, something good usually happens so [we] just be more patient. I think [our players] did a good job finding their teammates.”
Rebounding was also big for CCSU.
Brianna Jacobs had six offensive rebounds and seven rebounds total for the Blue Devils. That rebounding ability helped her get to the free throw line and score a career-high 14 points.
“It gave us a lot of extra possessions and extra opportunities,” said CCSU junior forward Andi Lydon, who finished with a team-high 16 points. “If we convert on them it’s only positive.”
The Blue Devils also played relatively well on the defensive end of the court. The team held a 24-23 lead at the half and did a good job shutting down Wagner’s leading scorer, Sierra Clark, as she scored just five points in the first half.
“One of our challenges is shutting down key players,” Jacobs said. “We always go over scouting the players we need to look out for and a lot of times those players go off. We did a good job shutting down [Clark].”
However, in the second half Clark got going and still finished the game with a game-high 21 points on 8-for-20 shooting from the field.
Still, the Blue Devils will look to build off their performance and put together a strong record in conference play. With the win, CCSU is 1-1 in NEC play.
“We knew that once conference play came it’s a whole different season,” Lydon said. “It was nice to get a win and just remember what it feels like to win. It was also big because we’re a really young team and it’s good for them to get a win under our belts now that we know we can beat teams.”
The Blue Devils will travel to take on Bryant Saturday at 1 p.m.
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org