Dugan, Simmons and Crockett Guide Blue Devils to Fourth Win in Five Games, CCSU Tops Longwood, 81-74, on the Road

Dugan, Simmons and Crockett Guide Blue Devils to Fourth Win in Five Games, CCSU Tops Longwood, 81-74, on the Road

Sophomore Kerrianne Dugan scored a season-high 22 points and had seven rebounds to lead Central Connecticut (7-5) in an 81-74 non-conference road win over Longwood (4-9). Freshman Shontice Simmons added 19 points, five assists and three steals for the Blue Devils, who shot 25-of-47 (53.2 percent) from the field and 8-of-13 (61.5 percent) on three-point tries. Sophomore Leanne Crockett contributed 16 points and a game-high eight rebounds in the win.

CCSU trailed 7-2 early in the first half but took an 11-10 lead on a pair of Dugan free throws. The two teams stayed tight until Crockett connected for her second three-pointer to make it a 24-18 lead in favor of the Blue Devils.

Crockett's third triple, which followed two Longwood free throws, stretched the Central Connecticut advantage to 27-20 with 7:18 remaining in the opening 20 minutes. The margin reached its peak just over three minutes later when Simmons made a three and then a layup to give CCSU a 37-29 lead.

Longwood countered with an 11-3 stretch to tie the game at 40-40, but Simmons went the length of the court for a layup with less than five seconds showing on the clock to give CCSU a 42-40 halftime lead.

The Blue Devils shot 16-of-31 (51.6 percent) in the opening half. They were 6-of-9 (66.7 percent) on three-pointers. Longwood also shot well, connecting on 14-of-25 (56.0 percent) shots and 5-of-8 (62.5 percent) threes. Simmons had 14 first half points to lead all players. Crockett added 12 points. Sophomore Krystal Garrison came off the bench to lead Longwood with nine points on three three-point makes.

Central Connecticut held its lead for the first 8:40 of the second half. Longwood freshman Emma Zieverink tied the game at 52-52, but CCSU responded with an 8-0 run capped by back-to-back three-pointers from Dugan and senior captain Jhanay Harris. The Blue Devils did not relinquish the lead the rest of the way, stretching it out to 10 points, 71-61, with 4:50 left to play.

The Blue Devils, who opened the half 0-of-6 from the free throw line, sealed the win at the stripe. Crockett and Harris made four straight to keep it a three possession game with less than a minute remaining.

Harris added eight points to the efforts of Dugan, Simmons and Crockett. Freshman Christie Leverette matched a season high with seven points. CCSU scored 23 points off 20 Longwood turnovers and had a 26-16 advantage on points in the paint. Central Connecticut also outscored the Lancers, 13-3, on second chance points.

Freshman Brooke Long scored 17 second half points to lead Longwood with 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including a 3-of-5 effort from beyond the arc. Junior Becky Fernandes added 11 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Lancers, who shot 24-of-50 (48 percent) from the field.

The Blue Devils scored 80 points in back-to-back games for the first time since the 1997-98 season. It was the first time they scored 80 points in back-to-back wins since the 1989-90 season.

Central Connecticut, 2-0 in Northeast Conference action, will resume league play at Monmouth on Wednesday, Jan. 7. Opening tip is scheduled for noon.