Sophomore Kaley Watras scored 26 points to lead the Central Connecticut women's basketball team to a 76-66 victory over Bryant on Saturday afternoon. The Blue Devils (14-12, 8-7 NEC) scored 43 points in the first half and carried that momentum throughout the second half.
The Blue Devils opened the game with a 7-0 run over the first minute and 43 seconds of play. A lay up by senior Kirsten Daamen and a jumper by senior Jaclyn Babe helped CCSU to a 5-0 lead and following a three by Watras, the Bulldogs (10-15, 6-8 NEC) took a time out to stop the run.
Following the time out, the Blue Devils continued to score with Watras leading the charge. Watras finished the first half with 17 points on an impressive 6-of-6 shooting from the floor, including two-for-two from behind the three-point line. She also hit on 3-of-4 free throw attempts in the period.
As a team CCSU shot a season best 58.1% from the field during the first half and the Blue Devils also dominated on the glass with 24 rebounds compared to 14 for Bryant.
Watras led the team in scoring again in the second half, but this time she did her scoring at the free throw line. She connected on 9-of-10 free throw attempts in the second half to increase her point total to 26 for the game. Watras did not even attempt a field goal in the second half.
Daamen and Jaclyn Babe pushed the Blue Devils through the second half with eight and six points, respectively. Daamen opened the period with back-to-back buckets for CCSU and Babe took over during the middle of the period with three baskets over a three minute stretch. Daamen finished with 18 points and Babe had 16.
In addition to scoring, Jaclyn Babe was also attacking the glass to grab a team-high 10 rebounds. The double-double is the second of the season for Babe.
Watras also led Central with four assists. Jaclyn Babe and junior Jessica Babe were right behind her with three assists apiece.
The Blue Devils also set a new season-high for shooting percentage by connecting on 50.8% of attempts. CCSU was 30-of-59 from the field, including 2-of-5 from behind the arc. The Blue Devils recorded an assist on 18 of their 30 field goals in the game, including 11 of the team's 18 first half baskets.
Central dominated in the paint with 40 points, including 17 second chance points.
The Blue Devils led by as many as 18 points and never trailed the Bulldogs.
Watras reached the 400-point mark for her career with her 19th point of the game. She now has 408 career points.
Bryant scored 37 points in the second half to climb back into the game. The Bulldogs scored 13 points at the free throw line in the second half.
Women's basketball will return to action Monday night at Sacred Heart.