Junior Justina Udenze led Central Connecticut State University with 18 points and added seven rebounds as the Blue Devils defeated St. Francis (NY) by a score of 64-59 on the road Saturday afternoon. CCSU finishes regular season play with an overall record of 11-17 and will be the sixth seed in next weekend's Northeast Conference Tournament with a league mark of 8-10.
The Blue Devils got out to a quick start, as they scored the first nine points and held a 12-2 advantage just 3:58 into the game. CCSU used a pair of three-pointers from sophomore Alexzandria Dowdy and a trio of transition buckets to get out to the early lead. Senior P.J. Wade scored on consecutive fast break layups before junior Leanne Crockett did the same to give the Blue Devils the double-digit lead.
After two free throws by Udenze, St. Francis (NY) held Central scoreless for the next 10:16. The Terriers capped off their 23-2 run with a three-pointer by senior Melissa Weithman to make it 25-14 with 5:23 to play. CCSU cut into the St. Francis (NY) lead and trailed by only three, 28-25 at the half.
The Terriers extended their second half lead to six twice before CCSU took control of the game. St. Francis made it 37-31 on a jumper in the paint by Jacinda Williams. The Blue Devils then went on a 10-0 run to take a 41-37 lead that they didn't lose the rest of the way out.
Dowdy stole the ball and then converted the fast break layup to tie the game for the first time of the half at 37-37. On the next defensive possession Crockett pulled down the rebound and hit Dowdy with the outlet pass. The point guard then found junior Kerrianne Dugan in transition, who in turn fed Wade for the fast break jumper to give Central its first lead since midway through the first half.
Freshman Kirsten Daamen grabbed an offensive rebound and then finished the putback layup to score the ninth and 10th straight points for the Blue Devils. CCSU extended the lead to as many as 10 at 60-50 and held on to the 64-59 victory.
The Terriers were led by Williams' 15 points and four assists, while Autumn Lau added 14 points on four three-pointers.
Udenze led the Blue Devils with 18 points, while three others finished in double figures. Dugan totaled 16 points, grabbed five boards and added three assists. Crockett recorded her team-leading ninth double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds. Dowdy chipped in with 10 points, four rebounds and four assists.
Central Connecticut earned the sixth seed in the NEC Tournament with the victory and will play third seeded Sacred Heart in the quarterfinals on Saturday.