The Central Connecticut women's basketball team fell to Hofstra 67-60 on Wednesday afternoon. The Blue Devils (6-4) played the host Pride (8-2) in the opening game of the New York Life Holiday Invitational. Junior Jaclyn Babe scored a team-high 20 points and freshman Kaley Watras contributed 12 points in the first half.
For the second straight game the Blue Devils pulled within four points with just minutes to play, but fell just short of the comeback.
Trailing 53-48, with 9:17 left in the game, sophomore Jessica Babe drilled a three pointer to cut the deficit to a single basket. Following that shot, Hofstra unleashed a 10-0 run, shutting Central out for over four minutes as the Pride built a 63-51 lead.
The Blue Devils answered with a fast break layup by sophomore Jaleen Thomas that ended the run. On the following possession Jaclyn Babe grabbed a long rebound and took-off down the court before pulling up for a short jumper that cut the lead to 63-55.
Hofstra's Candice Bellocchio hit a free throw to put her team ahead by nine, but missed the back end of the pair. After another Hofstra miss, Jessica Babe grabbed the rebound, turned up court and lobbed a pass to Jaclyn Babe who was cutting toward the basket for an easy layup. That basket closed the gap to seven.
Central's final basket of the game came with 1:34 left to play. Jaclyn Babe dribbled in toward the top of the key and then stepped back for a three pointer. The three cut the lead to four points, but the Blue Devils were unable to score again.
Hofstra hit on three-of-four free throws to close out the game.
In the first half, the Blue Devils started slowly falling behind 19-6. Coach Beryl Piper used a pair of timeouts to stop Hofstra's scoring momentum early in the first half. After the second timeout Central went on a 12-3 run capped with a layup by Jessica Babe. Babe scored six of Central's 12 points during the stretch, with freshman Kaley Watras contributing four points.
Central fell behind 38-28 with three minutes left in the half, but fought back by scoring the final six points of the period. Watras dropped in her 11th and 12th points of the half, sophomore Lauren Arbogast followed with her first basket of the afternoon. Arbogast then hit a pair of free throws that cut Hofstra's lead to four heading into the half.
With 12 points in the first half, Watras surpassed her previous career-high of six. Babe also scored in double-digits in the first half with 10 points.
Jaclyn Babe led all scorers with 20 points in the game, she also had six rebounds, five assists and three steals. It is her third 20 point game and her fifth time as high scorer this season. Jessica Babe and Kaley Watras each finished in double-figures with 13 and 12, respectively.
Thomas and junior Jameilia Dillon came off the bench and both recorded seven rebounds, a team-high.
Sophomore Lauren Arbogast posted a career-high with four blocks.
The Blue Devils will return to action Thursday at noon against the loser of the game between Marist and Auburn.
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