The Central Connecticut women's basketball team earned a 62-57 overtime victory against Sacred Heart on Monday night. A career-high 17 rebounds from junior Lauren Arbogast helped the Blue Devils (8-7, 2-2 NEC) even their conference record and move above the .500 mark for the season. Senior Jaclyn Babe was CCSU's leading scorer with 14 points, including 12 in the second half and overtime.
Gabrielle Washington of Sacred Heart (9-7, 1-3 NEC) hit a three with 52 seconds left in the game to put her team ahead by two, but Jaclyn Babe answered with a jumper to tie the game with just 17 seconds remaining. Babe's basket knotted the score at 49-49 and forced overtime.
In overtime it was Arbogast who hit the big shot, a three pointer with 42 seconds left in the game that put the Blue Devils ahead 59-55. The Pioneers scored one more basket, but Jaclyn Babe was able to hit three-of-four free throws over the final six seconds to secure the 62-57 victory.
Arbogast's 17 rebounds are the most for a Blue Devil since Justina Udenze pulled down 19 boards on Feb. 21, 2011. That performance was also against Sacred Heart.
Jaclyn Babe led the Blue Devils with 14 points. She was joined in double-digits by senior Kirsten Daamen and freshman Kayla Miller. Daamen had 12 points for the second consecutive game and Miller set a new career-high with 10 points. All three players did the bulk of their scoring in the second half and overtime.
The Blue Devils and Pioneers played a physical first half with both teams struggling to score consistently. The score was tied on three occasions in the half and the lead changed three other times.
Central was strong on the glass grabbing 25 rebounds compared to 19 for Sacred Heart. The Blue Devils also shot better in the period. CCSU posted a 34.6% shooting percentage and the Pioneers managed just 18.8% from the field.
Sacred Heart was led by Gabrielle Washington who scored 12 of her team's 16 points in the first period.
For the second straight game it was sophomore Kaley Watras who led the offense in the first half. She hit four-of-four shots and scored a team-high nine points in the first period.
The Blue Devils did the majority of their scoring in the paint with Daamen leading the way. CCSU outscored the Pioneers 32-14 in the paint for the game and the Blue Devils were particularly strong in the first half, outscoring Sacred Heart 16-2.
A major reason for the Blue Devils' advantage in the paint was the performance of CCSU's post players. Daamen and Arbogast each blocked two shots and back-up center sophomore Johnna Fisher came off the bench to block three shots. Fisher and Daamen also had four rebounds each.
Sacred Heart was kept in the game by its three-point shooting, particularly in the second half. The Pioneers shot 28.2% from the field in the game, but connected for 35.0% from behind the arc. Gabrielle Washington led the Pioneers with 24 points on 9-of-20 from the field.
The Blue Devils' victory extends their current streak to three straight wins in overtime games. All three have come this season. The Blue Devils are now 9-2 in overtime games under head coach Beryl Piper.
The lead changed hands 17 times in the game with 14 coming after halftime. The score was also tied eight times, including five in the second half and overtime.
As a team, Central grabbed a season-high 56 rebounds in the game. It surpassed the high of 53 that was set on Saturday against Bryant.
Arbogast was consistent on the glass throughout the game. She grabbed seven rebounds in the first half and eight in the second period. She picked up her final two boards in overtime. Her previous career-high for rebounds had been nine, which she had tied on Saturday.
Miller's eight rebounds were a career-high for her. It is the fourth time this season she has set a new career-high for points and rebounds in the same game. She also did it against La Salle, Rider and Miami.
The victory was the Blue Devils first home win over Sacred Heart in the six years under Piper. It is also the program's first home victory over Sacred Heart since a 55-42 win on Feb. 3, 2001.
The Blue Devils host Wagner on Saturday at Detrick Gym. The game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. tip-off.