Sophomore Justina Udenze had a career-high 17 points, but it was not enough for Central Connecticut (5-5) to overcome Fordham (5-6) in a 66-64 non-conference road decision at Rose Hill Gym in the Bronx. Freshman Shontice Simmons added 15 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Blue Devils.
Central Connecticut opened the game with a 6-0 run and maintained a lead until the 6:29 mark in the first half. Sophomore Kristina Bell converted a traditional three-point play to cap a 7-0 run and give the Rams their first lead of the game. The run stretched to 10-0 to put Fordham ahead 22-18 with 5:31 left in the half. Highlighted by three-pointers from sophomore Leanne Crockett and senior Jhanay Harris, CCSU closed the period with a 10-4 stretch.
The Blue Devils led 28-26 after 20 minutes.
Udenze had eight points and six rebounds to lead all players. Junior P.J. Wade added six points and four rebounds for the Blue Devils, who had a 24-15 rebounding margin.
Central Connecticut fell behind, 30-28, to start the second half and were tied at 32-32 just less than five minutes into the period, The Blue Devils went on a 13-3 run to take their largest lead, 45-35, with 11:13 remaining in the game. Fordham responded with nine unanswered points over a 1:44 stretch and regained the lead moments later on a Randall Hurst jumper. A Simmons three-pointer ended the 12-0 Ram run. The game featured 11 lead changes and five ties over the final 7:22, with another basket from Hurst, a junior, proving to be the difference.
The Blue Devils led 64-63 after Simmons converted a lay-up with just over a minute showing on the clock. CCSU turned the ball over after rebounding a Fordham miss, however, and it provided Hurst with a chance for the go-ahead lay-up with 11 seconds left. Sophomore Kerrianne Dugan missed a runner on the other end, and, after Hurst made one-of-two at the free throw line, a Crockett desperation heave fell short.
Udenze added a game-high nine rebounds in the loss. Dugan finished with 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals, and Wade had nine points and five rebounds. CCSU outrebounded the Rams, 39-29.
Hurst scored 19 points and had eight rebounds and four assists to lead Fordham, which shot 26-of-56 (46.4 percent) from the field.
Central Connecticut will return the court on Wednesday, Dec. 31. The Blue Devils host Colgate in non-conference action at 1 p.m.