Central Connecticut women battle back, come up short against Mount St. Mary's

Published on Sunday, 23 January 2022 16:39
Written by TYLER HETU


NEW BRITAIN – Mount St. Mary’s defeated a resilient Central Connecticut women’s basketball team Sunday afternoon in a 71-60 final.

A fourth consecutive loss for Central moves them to 3-12 (1-5 in Northeast Conference play) on the season while the Mountaineers improve to 7-8 (5-3).

Central Connecticut had not much going right for them through the first half, seeing a deficit grow to as much as 21 points as Mount St. Mary’s dominated the passing and transition game, scoring nearly all of its points from underneath the basket.

The matchup between Mount St. Mary’s Kendall Bresee and CCSU’s Ashley Berube made for a tough battle between true centers for the first 20 minutes, with Bresee winning most battles underneath for scores. With both sides’ leading scorers facing one another in man-to-man battle, CCSU interim head coach Kerri Reaves felt Berube, along with others, did a good job in limiting her damage on Sunday.

"I think Bresee is a very talented player. She's very versatile for them and she's going to get her shots in her spots where she's the most comfortable,” said Reaves. “With Berube just sliding her feet and using her length, ... just being big and making her take more uncomfortable shots (was the plan). I think Meghan Kenefick and Eden Nibbelink did a good job of denying her the basketball when it was not in her hands. Even though she did (score) 17, I was happy with the effort but not happy she did get us for 17 points.”

Bresee finished the day with 17 points, tying Berube’s high. Bresee also grabbed six rebounds, with Berube collecting seven Kenefick scored five points while Nibbelink scored 11.

Strong interior play was supplemented by Jessica Tomasetti, who helped give Mount St. Mary’s its biggest lead of the day at 31-10. After Tomasetti’s score Central ran off a 9-3 stretch in the final minute and a half of the first half, showing some signs of life with a Kenefick triple to take the Blue Devils into halftime down 33-19.

An 8-0 run to open the second half helped jolt some life into Central, cutting the score to 33-27, Mount still ahead.

A Kendall Bresee layup snapped the run, but Central continued to pour it on in the second half as they found a second wind.

Central’s hot shooting continued through the third with a Belle Lanpher jumper and a Dejah Jenkins three cutting the game down to 37-34. A Nibbelink triple later on in the third quarter cut the score to a 41-39 game, and another three from a wide open Berube made it a one-score game at 43-42 with nine seconds to go in the third quarter.

That was the closest Central got to evening the score on Sunday, as a 6-0 run to open the fourth quarter by Mount St. Mary’s put Central back in a hole chasing Mountaineers.

A noticeably different team late in the second quarter and throughout the entirety of the second half, Reaves attributed the team’s ability to step up and take ownership of their miscues when things weren’t going right for them.

"It's nothing that I can say to them, I can only guide them. It's up to them to bring the intensity and attention to detail and they did a really good job of doing that,” said Reaves. “We're a player centered team and we go as they go and their emotions go. ... I'm not happy with a loss, but I'm happy with the way we proved to ourselves we can play through the second, third and fourth quarters.

“I give all the credit to (the players) and the leadership we have in the locker room,” added Reaves.

Elsewhere on the scoresheet, Central had 12 points from Lanpher. Kayla Agentowicz had 12 points and Michaela Harrison had 15 points for the Mountaineers.

Posted in The Bristol Press, CCSU on Sunday, 23 January 2022 16:39. Updated: Sunday, 23 January 2022 16:42.