The Central Connecticut women's basketball team earned a 62-49 victory over Sacred Heart on Monday night at William H. Pitt Center. The Blue Devils (6-7, 2-0 NEC) were led by senior Amanda Harrington's 14-point, 11-rebound double-double. Sacred Heart falls to 6-6 overall and 1-1 in Northeast Conference play with the loss.
The victory gives the Blue Devils a 2-0 start to NEC play for the first time since the 2008-09 season. That year CCSU began conference play 6-0.
Harrington dominated the glass in the first half collecting eight of her game-high 11 rebounds. Harrington turned her attention to offense in the second half scoring 10 points. She finished the day four-of-eight from the floor and six-of-eight at the free throw line.
A free throw by senior Kaley Watras put the Blue Devils up by 10 with 1:41 left in the first period, but a pair of Pioneer baskets over the final 48 seconds cut the halftime lead to 29-23.
After the break the Blue Devils slowly pulled away from the Pioneers building a 13-point lead with 7:11 left in the game.
Sacred Heart would cut the lead to seven points with 3:45 left to play, but CCSU answered by connecting on 10-of-17 free throws over the final four minutes to secure the win.
Junior TeJahne Malone connected on her first five field goal attempts of the game and finished the half six-of-seven from the floor. She finished the game with 15 points on seven-of-10 shooting and one-of-three at the free throw line.
Malone also had five rebounds and was credited with three steals.
The Blue Devils connected on 21-of-33 free throws in the game a 63.6% clip. Harrington, Epps and Watras each hit six free throws to do the bulk of CCSU's scoring at the line.
The double-double is the first of Harrington's career and the 11 rebounds set a new career-high.
CCSU shot 42.6% (20-47) from the floor and 63.6% (21-33) from the line. Sacred Heart was 33.9% (21-62) and attempted just six free throws.
CCSU also committed just 12 turnovers in the game.
The Blue Devils led for nearly 38 minutes and didn't trail in the second half.
The victory is the 99th for Beryl Piper as the head coach of the Blue Devils. Piper is already CCSU's winningest Division I coach and would join her former coach Brenda Reilly as the only coaches in program history to reach 100 career wins. Reilly collected 219 wins during her career with 86 coming during CCSU's Division I era.
CCSU will return to action on Saturday, Jan. 10 against Robert Morris. The Blue Devils and Pioneers are scheduled for a 1 p.m. tip-off as the first game of a doubleheader at Detrick Gymnasium.