Central Connecticut junior Jaleen Thomas set new career-highs with 15 points and 19 rebounds and senior Kirsten Daamen added a double-double to lead the Blue Devils to a 65-54 victory over Wagner on Monday afternoon. CCSU improves to 12-12 overall and 6-7 in NEC play with the victory, Wagner is now 2-23 and 1-13 in conference.
The 19 rebounds by Thomas tie for the third highest single-game total in CCSU's Division I history and are the most by a Blue Devil since Justina Udenze pulled down 19 boards against Sacred Heart on Feb. 21, 2011.
Offensively, CCSU was led by 17 points from Daamen, 16 from sophomore Kaley Watras and 15 from Thomas.
The Blue Devils started slowly and struggled offensively in the first half. CCSU actually went to the break trailing 21-20 after a three by Wagner with six seconds left in the period.
Thomas had 13 rebounds in the first half, which helped the Blue Devils hold a 30-16 advantage on the boards. Watras led the offense in the period with eight points on 2-of-6 shooting and 3-of-4 from the free throw line.
In the second half, the Blue Devil offense came to life to score 45 points and secure 31 more rebounds.
Wagner also started the second period strong and actually held a lead until Daamen hit a layup and free throw with 9:13 left to play. Daamen's three-point play gave CCSU a 44-42 lead and the Blue Devils did not trail again in the game.
Daamen scored 12 of her game-high 17 in the second half. Thomas dropped in 11 of her 15 points after the break and Watras posted eight points in each half.
As a team, CCSU connected on 19-of-26 free throws in the second half with Daamen going six-of-eight, Thomas five-of-six, Watras four-of-four and junior Lauren Arbogast three-of-four. In the game, CCSU was 26-of-36 from the free throw line.
With nine points and nine rebounds, Arbogast narrowly missed joining Daamen and Thomas with double-doubles.
Daamen finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Daamen had five offensive and five defensive rebounds, while Thomas had 11 offensive and 8 defensive.
The Blue Devils out rebounded the Seahawks 61-28 in the game, which is a margin of plus-33 on the glass for CCSU. Over two victories against Wagner this season, CCSU holds a 122 to 51 advantage in rebounding.
The victory snaps CCSU's five-game losing streak and is the Blue Devils first NEC road victory of the season.
The Blue Devils return to action on Wednesday night against LIU Brooklyn at Detrick Gym.