Freshman Shontice Simmons had 18 points and six assists to lead Central Connecticut (17-10, 12-4) in an 81-62 Northeast Conference home loss versus Sacred Heart (20-7, 17-0). Freshman Gabrielle Oglesby and junior P.J. Wade each had 10 points in the loss. Despite the loss, CCSU collected the #2 seed in the upcoming conference tournament. The Blue Devils earned the second slot thanks to a 77-69 Monmouth win over Robert Morris in West Long Branch, NJ.
Central Connecticut raced out to a 14-7 lead over the game's first 5:21, and led 17-11 before trading 6-0 runs with the Pioneers. Sophomore Alisa Apo tied the game at 17-17 with a pair of free throws. An Oglesby layup and two Wade jumpers stretched the Blue Devil advantage to 23-17. Sacred Heart outscored CCSU, 22-10, over the final 8:54, giving the Pioneers a 39-33 halftime lead.
Simmons had 12 first half points for the Blue Devils. Freshman Callan Taylor led Sacred Heart with 13 points and eight rebounds in the first 20 minutes. The Pioneers shot 15-of-31 (48.4 percent) from the floor.
Wade converted a layup to start the second half and cut the margin to 39-35. The Blue Devils were within four points, 48-44, again with 14:34 left to play in the game. However, Sacred Heart scored 15 unanswered points over the next 4:41 to build a 19-point lead. Central Connecticut did not get closer than 15 points the rest of the way.
The Pioneers continued their stellar shooting in the second half. They made 17-of-28 (60.7 percent) attempts and finished the game 32-of-59 (54.2 percent) from the field. That included an 8-of-17 (47.1 percent) mark from three-point range. Apo had a game-high 19 points in the win. Taylor finished with 15 points and nine rebounds, while sophomore Maggie Cosgrove had 14 points. Wade added seven rebounds to her 10 points. Oglesby had six boards to go with her 10 points. Sophomore Justina Udenze chipped in with nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Central Connecticut will head to Quinnipiac for its next contest, a 1 p.m. tip-off on Saturday, Feb. 28.