In the first game of the Seton Hall Thanksgiving Classic, the Central women's basketball team fell to tournament host, Seton Hall, in overtime, 78-70, on Saturday. Sophomore Kiana Patterson had the play of the game, when she hit a halfcourt buzzer-beater at the end of the fourth quarter that tied the game and sent it to overtime.
Senior Aleah Epps led the Blue Devils with 19 points and four assists, and sophomore Sydney Hines drained a career-high four triples to finish with 14 points. Junior Brianna Jacobs also snagged a career-high 12 rebounds.
CCSU falls to 1-4 on the year, and Seton Hall improves its record to 4-1.
The Pirates went on a 5-0 run to start the game, but freshman Ashley Chin hit a three-pointer, followed by two free throws from Epps to tie the score. Seton Hall connected on three three-pointers and outscored CCSU 10-4 off of points in the paint. Freshman Taylor Goode came off of the bench and contributed four points in the quarter.
Both teams fell into an offensive drought to start the second, missing a series of layups and turning the ball over.
Hines drained three three-pointers in the quarter to light a fire for the Blue Devils. In the stretch, Jacobs lobbed a high-low pass to senior Giocelis Reynoso for an easy lay-in. Seton Hall looked as though they had secured the ball for the last possession, until sophomore Andi Lydon poked the ball away and diving on the floor to give the Blue Devils the last opportunity. Hines took advantage of the hustle play by netting a triple with 17 seconds on the clock, cutting the deficit to 34-28 at halftime.
Both squads turned the ball over eight times through 20 minutes of action, Central capitalizing with 13 points compared to Seton Hall's nine points off of those turnovers.
Chin brought CCSU to within five points of Seton Hall with 7:11 left in the third, with an offensive rebound and putback. The Blue Devils had six different players make baskets in the period, and outscored their Big East opponent, 16-14, in the quarter to get within, 48-44, of the Pirates.
Early in the fourth, Lydon found her first two points at a crucial time off of a pull-up jumper right outside the lane. CCSU took its first lead of the game, 51-50, with seven minutes left in regulation when Epps drove to the hoop, getting fouled in the process, and knocking down both foul shots.
The momentum went back-and-forth for the remainder of regulation. The Pirates built a six point lead off of a three-point play from Kaela Hilaire. Central managed to get back within one after Epps dropped two clutch free throws with 1:20 to go in the contest.
In the Pirates last two possessions, the Blue Devils defense forced Kaity Healy to take deep, low-percentage shot from behind the arc, and Hilaire went 1-of-2 from the line, leaving CCSU down by two, with the ball, and 12.7 on the game clock.
After another Seton Hall free throw, and 3.7 seconds left, Patterson made a halfcourt desperation shot at the buzzer to tie the score at 63-63, and send the game into overtime.
In the following extra period, the teams were tied four times, but Seton Hall built a substantial lead going 6-10 from the foul line, and 4-7 (57.1%) from the field.
Hilaire led the Pirates with a game-high 24 points, and Claire Lundberg added 16. Reynoso and Lydon grabbed 10 boards apiece, and CCSU's bench outscored Seton Hall's, 26-20. The Blue Devils made 21-of-65 (32.3%) field goals.
The Central women will be the home team in its second game of the Seton Hall Thanksgiving Classic on Sunday, Nov. 27, at noon against San Diego St. Aztecs (1-4).