Central Connecticut womenâ€™s basketball (2-8, 0-1 NE) dropped its Northeast Conference opener Wednesday night, losing to Bryant University (3-9, 1-0) on the road 60-53.
Despite a 6-0 run to open the contest, Central saw its lead dissipate across the first quarter before ultimately falling behind on a Blanca Chasco free-throw to make it 18-17 Bulldogs. Six straight points near the midway point of the second quarter saw Bryant extend its lead to seven and then another run of 13 straight gave Bryant a cushion at 39-21.
A pair of baskets from Angelique Rodriguez and Forever Toppin (including a free-throw) in the final two minutes broke Bryantâ€™s lead down to 11 at 40-29 entering halftime.
CCSU was unable to break the game closer in the second half, with the differential fluctuating around 10 before the Blue Devils cut the difference slightly in the fourth quarter by outscoring Bryant 14-9.
Toppin and Belle Lanpher were the leading scorers for CCSU, both dropping 11. Alli Napoli had eight rebounds and eight points each while Dejah Jenkins had nine points. CCSU shot 3 of 26 (11.5%) from 3-point range and 20 of 62 (32.3%) from the field, a tough day for the lady Blue Devils.
CCSUâ€™s leading scorer Ashley Berube missed Wednesdayâ€™s game for an undisclosed issue.
Bryant was led by Brooke Bjelkoâ€™s 19 points and 16 rebounds, completing a double-double. Fatou Jallow had 13 points off the bench and Alana Perkins scored 11 points, connecting from 3-point range three times.
LAST WEEK VS. ALBANY
Prior to Christmas break, Central Connecticut took on University of Albany on Dec. 21 and lost 65-52.
The Blue Devils were slow to get going in the loss, scoring its lone points of the frame on a Eden Nibbelink jumper and a Lanhper free throw in a 14-3 first quarter.
CCSU never led the rest of the way despite out-scoring Albany in the second half. Toppin was CCSUâ€™s leading scorer in the game with 10 points. Albany was led with 13 points from Helene Haegerstrand and 11 points by Ellen Hahne.
ST. FRANCIS GAMES CANCELLED
The Northeast Conference announced Tuesday the cancellation of six womenâ€™s basketball games this week, with the CCSU womenâ€™s schedule falling onto the list of games scrapped.
Central Connecticutâ€™s home contest against St. Francis on Friday afternoon was postponed, along with two Merrimack and Mount St. Maryâ€™s games. St. Francis also had a second game this week cancelled.
Due to the NECâ€™s cancellation and forfeit policy, the game is officially a forfeit with teams needing to cancel the game receiving a conference loss in the standings. CCSU will receive a win on Friday due to the cancellation, and will improve to 1-1 in conference play with the Wednesday loss to Bryant.