The Central Connecticut women's basketball team improved to 12-8 overall and 8-1 in the Northeast Conference with an 83-67 victory over Wagner on Saturday afternoon in Staten Island at the Spiro Sports Center. The Seahawks drop to 4-16 and 2-7 in NEC play with the loss.
Juniors TeJahne Malone and Kayla Miller paced the offense for the Blue Devils on Saturday. Malone recorded her fourth double-double of the season in a big way. The Maryland product finished with a career-high 22 points and career-high 16 rebounds to lead CCSU. Miller tied her career-high with 20 points and added four rebounds in the win. The 20-point night for Malone and Miller is the first time two Blue Devils have reached the 20-point mark this season and the first time since Jaclyn Babe and Kaley Watras did so back on March 4, 2013 against Saint Francis U.
The first half of play was a game of runs for both teams. Central was the first team to strike with a quick 14-0 run that took just over four minutes to complete. From the 14:43 mark to 10:05 remaining before the break, CCSU scored 14 unanswered points, including eight from Miller. The run gave the Blue Devils a commanding 15 point lead, 25-10.
Wagner responded, however, with a 16-4 run of their own over the next seven minutes to cut the Blue Devil lead to just three points with three minutes left before halftime.
The Blue Devils would answer the threat and went on a 10-0 run to close out the half, highlighted by six more points from Miller, including a put-back layup as time expired in the period. Central's run gave them a 39-26 lead heading into the locker room.
Miller was the leading scorer at the break for CCSU with 16 points on an efficient eight-of-10 shooting from the floor. Malone did most of her work on the glass in the first half pulling down 10 rebounds for the Blue Devils.
Following the intermission, the second half was a completely different game than the first. Neither team could sustain a run of more than five points over the first 13 minutes of the second half.
Wagner would cut the lead to nine points, 57-48, halfway through the second stanza, but would get no closer for the remainder of the game.
The Blue Devils then used the largest run of the second half, seven, to expand their lead to the largest of the game, 21, to take a 78-57 lead with three minutes left in regulation to seal the eventual 83-67 victory.
The win improves the Blue Devils league record to 8-1 and now gives them sole possession of first place in the NEC standings after the Bryant Bulldogs dropped an 87-84 decision at Robert Morris Saturday afternoon.
Malone led the Blue Devils with a career-high 22 points, including 14 second-half points. She was only six-of-13 shooting from the floor, but connected on all 10-of-10 of her free throw attempts in the game. She also dominated the glass, finishing with a career-high 16 boards.
Miller tied her career-high with 20 points, shooting an unbelievable 83.3% (10-12) from the floor in the game. She also added four rebounds and an assist.
Senior Amanda Harrington contributed 14 points, 12 of which came in the second half, and grabbed seven rebounds for CCSU in the win.
The Blue Devils shot 50.0% (31-62) from the floor in the game, including 56.5% (13-23) in the second half. The second half shooting percentage is the best half the Blue Devils have shot all year.
CCSU also shot extremely well from the charity stripe, hitting on 21-of-24 attempts from the line.
Central dominated the boards finishing the game with a 46-27 advantage on the glass, including 16 offensive rebounds. The Blue Devils converted those 16 offensive rebounds into 24 second-chance points.
All 13 Blue Devils played at least three minutes in the game and 11 players scored for CCSU.
The women's basketball team will return to action on Monday night at LIU Brooklyn. The two teams are schedule to tip-off at 7 p.m.