Junior Jaclyn Babe and freshman Kaley Watras combined for 43 points, but the Central Connecticut women's basketball team fell in double-overtime at St. Francis (PA) on Monday night. The Blue Devils (11-16, 5-11 NEC) and Red Flash (13-14, 10-6 NEC) battled over 50 minutes of thrilling basketball, but St. Francis pulled out the victory, 86-83.
Good shooting propelled the Blue Devils to a first half lead against the Red Flash. Central opened the game on a 12-4 run in which six different players scored two points. Freshman Johnna Fisher, junior Jameilia Dillon, sophomore Jessica Babe, freshman Danielle Davis and Jaclyn Babe all scored baskets during the run.
Watras contributed to the 12 points with a pair of free throws. Watras started a string of seven straight free throws made by the Blue Devils in the half. In all, Central went 9-of-10 at the line and hit 10-of-23 shots from the field.
Late in the period, St. Francis closed the game to 21-15, but Jaclyn Babe answered by scoring five straight points for her team. Babe's run helped push her team's lead to 30-19 at the half. She finished the period leading all players with nine points.
The Blue Devils' 11 point halftime lead, took a nine point hit to open the second half. St. Francis opened the second period on an 11-2 run over the first three and a half minutes. Fisher was the only Blue Devil to score during the run, banking a jumper off the glass.
Central answered with an 8-0 run that put the Blue Devils ahead by 10 points, with 13:13 left in the half. The Blue Devils would maintain roughly a 10 point advantage for the next eight minutes of play. Neither team was able to score consecutive baskets, which kept the difference in score between eight and 12 points over the entire eight minute stretch.
Over the final five minutes of the period the Red Flash made a 19-10 run to send the game to overtime, tied 62-62.
Watras had knocked down two free throws with just under a minute remaining to put her team ahead 62-60, but St. Francis' Alli Williams hit a layup with seven seconds remaining to tie the score.
Watras and Davis combined for eight points at the free throw line in the period. Watras converted six-of-six in the frame and finished the day 15-of-16 at the free throw line. Davis hit both free throws she attempted in the period.
Watras also hit a jumper in the first overtime, giving her eight of her teams 12 points in the period.
The biggest shot of overtime came from sophomore Lauren Arbogast who hit a short jumper at the buzzer to tie the game, 74-74, and force a second overtime. Jaclyn Babe delivered the assist on the tying basket.
St. Francis built a 84-79 lead with 31 seconds remaining in the second overtime, but Jaclyn Babe would not let the Blue Devils go down without a fight. Babe cut the deficit to three with 22 seconds left and the drove to the hoop on a fast break to get her team within one point with seven seconds remaining.
Fisher picked up her fifth foul on the inbounds play, sending St. Francis to the free throw line with four seconds remaining. Fisher was the fourth Blue Devil to foul out of the game. Paired with injuries to other players, Central was forced to play the final four seconds with only four players on the court.
Watras led the Blue Devils at the free throw line, converting 15-of-16 attempts. As a team the Blue Devils connected on 29-of-32 free throw attempts, including 11-of-12 in overtime.
Jaclyn Babe finished with 24 points, eight rebounds, four steals and three assists. Watras posted a career-high 19 points to go along with four assists and three steals. Fisher also reached double-digit points. She scored 10 for the second straight game and contributed three rebounds and two blocks.
The game featured 59 total fouls and five players disqualified for reaching the foul limit.
The Blue Devils return home for the final two games of the regular season this weekend. Central hosts Wagner on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Detrick Gym that game will serve as Senior Day for the Class of 2012. The regular season finale will be Monday night against Mount St. Mary's. That game will start at 7 p.m.