The Central Connecticut women's basketball team defeated Rhode Island 50-45 in Detrick Gym on Wednesday night. Rhode Island had a chance to tie the game with six seconds left in regulation, but sophomore Jaleen Thomas stepped to the perimeter and blocked the tying shoot attempt to preserve Central's fifth victory of the season.
The Blue Devils (5-2, 0-1 NEC) were limited to a single point over a seven minute stretch late in the second half. With the Central offense cooled, Rhode Island (1-9, 0-0 A10) was able to tie the game at 44-44 on free throws by Emilie Cloutier and then take the lead on a free throw by Sherrie Session.
With one minute to play Central took control of the game. Junior Jaclyn Babe drilled a short jumper from the left side of the lane to take the lead for good. Babe's basket gave the Blue Devils a 46-45 lead. Junior Kirsten Daamen followed with a layup that pushed the lead to three and Thomas converted on both of her free throws with under a second left in play to close it out.
With only one three-point field goal made, the first half was played mostly in the paint. Daamen dropped in 10 points on five-of-nine shooting as the Blue Devil outscored the Rams 16-14 in the key and took a 25-24 advantage into the break.
The Blue Devil defense was dominant throughout the game. Central forced 25 Rhode Island turnovers, and sophomore Jessica Babe set a career-high with six steals in the game, Jaclyn Babe added four and the team totaled 15 steals.
Under the basket, Daamen matched her career-high with six blocks. Her six blocks bring her season total to 18 in only seven games.
Jessica Babe continued her solid all-around play, she posted 10 points, six rebounds, six assists, and six steals in the game. Jaclyn Babe finished with a game-high 15 points including the go-ahead basket with a minute left in play. Daamen finished with 12 points.
Eight Blue Devils grabbed a rebound in the game, led by Thomas who came off the bench and grabbed a game-high seven rebounds. She also scored six points and blocked the Rams final shot of the game.
The victory improves the Blue Devils home record to 4-1 on the season. Central is 4-0 at home in non-conference games this season and 14-3 overall at home since the start of last season.