Sophomore Leanne Crockett had a season-best 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting to lead Central Connecticut (9-5, 4-0) in a 71-57 Northeast Conference home win over Fairleigh Dickinson (4-9, 3-2). Crockett, who connected on 5-of-7 three-point attempts, was aided by junior P.J Wade's second straight double figure scoring effort. Wade had 10 points, five rebounds and three assists for the Blue Devils, who have won four straight for the first time since the 2000-01 season.
Crockett jumpstarted the Blue Devils with a 19-point first half. She drilled the first of her five triples to give Central Connecticut a 5-0 lead and hit her second in the midst of a 7-0 CCSU run that made it a 14-4 game. Fairleigh Dickinson cut the margin to five points, 17-12, before a layup from senior Jhanay Harris and three-pointer by freshman Christie Leverette gave Central Connecticut an 11-point lead.
Fairleigh Dickinson again chipped away at the Blue Devil lead, drawing to within four points, 27-23, with just more than five minutes remaining in the half. The Knights were down six points, 33-27, with 3:28 remaining, but they did not score for the remainder of the half. Central Connecticut closed out the opening 20 minutes on another 7-0 run, which was highlighted by Crockett's fifth triple and a Harris runner with less than five seconds left.
Crockett's 19 points led all players in the first half. She also had five rebounds. The Blue Devils shot 16-of-32 (50 percent) from the floor and made 8-of-12 (66.7 percent) of their three-point tries. They also had 11 assists against six turnovers and a 22-16 advantage in rebounding. Junior Christy Altamirano led FDU with eight points.
A Wade jumper extended Central Connecticut's lead to 15 points at the start of the second half. That would be their largest lead of the game. Fairleigh Dickinson went on a 7-0 run after falling behind 44-29. Freshman Gabrielle Oglesby ended the stretch with a layup, and the Blue Devils lead went back to double figures following a Oglesby jumper. Two Crockett free throws made it 50-38, but the Knights used a 10-3 run to close the gap to five points with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game. The CCSU lead then dropped to 57-55 with 5:11 remaining.
Central Connecticut's defense tightened and helped create an 11-0 run over the proceeding 4:26. Five players - sophomores Kerrianne Dugan and Justina Udenze, Crockett, Wade and Oglesby - scored during the run. FDU senior Shenika Chang ended the drought with a layup at the 45-second mark. It proved to be the final points for the Knights.
In addition to her 23 points, Crockett grabbed six rebounds. Dugan added seven points, nine rebounds and four assists, while Oglesby had eight points and four rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench. The Blue Devils shot 9-of-16 (56.3 percent) from three-point range and finished the game with a 38-33 rebounding edge. They limited Fairleigh Dickinson to 24-of-63 (38.1 percent) shooting, including a 2-of-14 (14.3 percent) effort from beyond the arc. Chang had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Knights. Freshman Mariyah Laury led the team with 20 points, while Altamirano finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.
Central Connecticut will next play on Monday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. versus Wagner. The tip in Detrick Gymnasium is scheduled for 7 p.m.