The Central Connecticut women's basketball team fell to Saint Francis U in a match-up of the #4 and #5 teams in the Northeast Conference Tournament. The Blue Devils (16-14, 10-8 NEC) fell to the Red Flash (16-14, 10-8 NEC) by a score of 66-63. Senior Jaclyn Babe scored 27 points in the loss.
The Blue Devils started the game with a 10-2 run over the first four minutes and 18 seconds and eventually expanded the lead to 24-13.
Jaclyn Babe, junior Lauren Arbogast and junior Jessica Babe all had baskets on the Blue Devils' opening run.
Jaclyn Babe finished the first half with 10 points on five-of-seven shooting. Senior Kirsten Daamen added nine points on four-of-six shooting and sophomore Kaley Watras dropped in eight on a pair of three-pointers and two free throws.
The Blue Devils finished the half with a 37-34 lead, but it was a late run by the Red Flash that changed the game's momentum heading into the break. Saint Francis scored the final five points of the period, including four points in the final six seconds of the half.
Saint Francis carried the momentum into the second half with a 7-0 run over the first four minutes of the period.
The Blue Devils answered with a basket and free throw by Daamen to make it a 41-40 game. Minutes later CCSU took a 47-46 lead on a three-pointer by Jaclyn Babe.
Saint Francis erased Central's lead just 10 seconds later with a basket by Rebecca Sparks. The Sparks jumper opened up an 8-0 run for the Red Flash, but CCSU would rally from the 54-47 deficit.
Daamen and Jaclyn Babe hit back-to-back jumpers to cut the deficit to three points and, following a Saint Francis basket, Babe hit a jumper, was fouled and hit the free throw to cut the Red Flash advantage to two points. Thirty seconds later Babe tied the game at 56-56 with a bucket.
Saint Francis pulled ahead 58-56 on a pair of free throws, but Jessica Babe dropped in two free throws on CCSU's next possession to tie the score again.
With just under four minutes to play Arbogast gave CCSU a 60-58 lead with a jumper, but SFU's Alexa Hayward tied it with a basket of her own with 2:01 left in the game. CCSU answered again with Arbogast hitting a three from the top of the key to give the Blue Devils a 63-60 lead with 1:32 left in the game.
Following Arbogast's three, SFU's Ali Williams hit a pair of free throws to cut the CCSU lead to 63-62. On CCSU's next possession Jaclyn Babe was called for an offensive foul, which gave the ball back to Saint Francis with 41 seconds left to play. On the ensuing possession, Williams hit a jumper to give the Red Flash a 64-63 lead with 27 seconds left to play. The Blue Devils were unable to score on the following possession and fouled Williams following a missed shot. Williams hit two more free throws with six seconds to play and Arbogast's last second shot fell short of the basket.
Jaclyn Babe finished with 27 points in the game and 920 points in just two seasons with Central. Babe also had two assists and three steals in the contest.
Daamen dropped in 14 points in her final collegiate game and also picked up a pair of blocks. The two blocks extend her school record for blocked shots to 200.
Jessica Babe led CCSU on the boards with 11. She also had seven points and three steals. Watras finished with eight points, three rebounds and three assists. Arbogast scored seven points and had three boards, four steals and a pair of assists. Junior Jaleen Thomas came off the bench to contribute seven rebounds and a career-high six assists.
CCSU did not have any points off the bench in the game. However, the Blue Devils did shoot 45.5% for the game, including 53.6% from the floor in the first half. Central was not as successful at the free throw line, hitting just 57.1% (8-14) for the game.
The 16 wins by the Blue Devils are the fifth most in a Division I season in the program's 27 year history.