Four Blue Devils finished in double figures, but Central Connecticut State University dropped an 80-71 decision on the road against Bryant on Thursday. Senior P.J. Wade led the way with 15 points, while juniors Kerrianne Dugan and Justina Udenze as well as sophomore Alexzandria Dowdy each chipped in 13 points in the defeat. Central falls to 8-13 on the season and 5-6 in Northeast Conference play, while Bryant improves to 10-12 overall and 7-4 in conference action.
Bryant started quickly, getting out to a 12-2 lead within the first 2:05 of the game. Junior Siamone Bennett fueled the Bulldog rally with six straight points, on three straight post up layups during the stretch. Dugan stopped the bleeding when she caught a pass from junior Leanne Crockett on the break and connected on a traditional three point play to make it 12-5. Udenze cut the Bryant lead to five when she knocked down both of her free throws after drawing a foul on her way to the basket.
The Bulldogs extended their first half lead to as many as 21, at 44-23, with 53 seconds to play in the opening period on a three-pointer by senior Kristin Mraz. Wade countered with a triple of her own with 21 seconds left to make it 44-26 heading into the break. Bennett led Bryant with 12 points on six of eight shooting during the first half, while Mraz chipped in with nine points and four assists. The Blue Devils were led by Dugan's seven points, four assists and three rebounds during the first 20 minutes of action.
CCSU got out to a hot start after the break, scoring the first five points. Dowdy connected on a three-pointer to start the period and then Wade hit a two point jumper off an assist from Udenze to make it 44-31. The Blue Devils failed to capitalize on the quick start, as Bryant's 18 point halftime lead was what they again led by half-way through the final period. Sophomore Lekia Cowen hit a jumper in the lane with 9:56 to play to make it 61-43.
The Blue Devils made their way back into the game with a seven to zero run over the next two and a half minutes to make it 61-50 with under eight minutes left. Udenze came up big during the Central Connecticut run, connecting on back to back layups. CCSU got as close as eight at 79-71, but Bryant hit the final free throw of the game to finish with the 80-71 victory.
CCSU was more efficient than Bryant in second half action, shooting 53.6 percent from the floor to the Bulldogs' 33.3 mark, but Bryant's 17 offensive rebounds were the deciding factor in the contest. Junior Jamie Campbell led the Bulldogs with five offensive boards and added 11 points in the victory. Four other Bryant players finished in double figures, with Mraz's 17 leading the way. The senior added seven rebounds and seven assists in the win.
Wade's 15 points were a team high and her five steals were a career best for the senior. Dugan added six rebounds and six assists to her 13 point game for the Blue Devils. Udenze and Dowdy each scored 13 points in the defeat, while Udenze added a team high seven rebounds.
Central Connecticut, now 8-13 on the season will host Bryant on Saturday as a part of Rivalry Week in the NEC. The two teams will tip off at 1:00 p.m. in Detrick Gymnasium.