The Central Connecticut women's basketball team defeated LIU Brooklyn, 76-71, on Monday inside Steinberg Wellness Center in Brooklyn, NY. Seniors Giocelis Reynoso and Aleah Epps led the Blue Devils on both ends of the floor in the win. Epps scored a season high 22 points, adding eight rebounds, and six assists. Reynoso scored a career-high 18 points, and grabbed 10 rebounds in her third double-double this year.
With the victory, Central improves to 7-10 overall and 6-0 in the league, while the Blackbirds fall to 2-15 and 1-5 in the NEC.
In the first 10 minutes of action, the two squads traded baskets resulting in five lead changes, and LIU leading 19-17 heading into the second quarter. LIU's leading scorer, Shanovia Dove, tallied 11 points, and the Blackbirds came out firing shooting 46.7% on 7-of-15 shooting. Senior Aleah Epps racked in four assists, and CCSU did not turn the ball over in the period.
The back-and-forth action continued, with LIU and Central matching each other in scoring, 14-14, and 22-all on the glass heading into the break.
Long Island's Gabrielle Caponegro looked to have made the last basket before the half with .07 on the clock, but Epps threw a pass up ahead to Blue Devil sophomore, Kiana Patterson who drained a three at the last second to cut the Blackbird deficit to 33-31.
Dove led all-scorers with 17 points in the first half, and LIU shot 62.5% (5-8) from downtown. Giocelis Reynoso recorded 10 points for CCSU.
Veterans Reynoso and Epps started a 8-2 run with a lay-in and three pointer in the opening 35 seconds of the third. Central made 9-of-11 foul shots, to build a 52-48 lead with two minutes to go. Dove converted a four-point play, but was quickly answered by an Outlow three ball on the following possession. CCSU went a perfect 4-for-4 from behind the arc in the quarter.
The fourth period was quiet to start, with Long Island hitting two three pointers, including Brianna Farris's fifth of the game to tie up the score at 62-62 at 6:23. With 2:15 left in the game Epps dove on a loose ball, getting fouled in the process, only to sink both free throws, and to nail a jumper on the next Blue Devil possession to put CCSU up by three with 1:22 to go.
Aja Boyd's layup with 10 seconds to go brought the Long Island group to within one point, and were forced to foul Epps who calmly sank both free throws on the other end. Central forced a tough three-pointer on LIU's final chance, and Lydon closed out the victory with another set of foul shots to bring CCSU's total to a perfect 12-for-12 in the fourth.
The Blue Devil attack was too much for LIU, despite its hot-shooting day of 25-for-59 (42.4%) from the floor, including 10-for-16 (62.5%) from three-point land. Dove finished with 27 points and 11 rebounds, and Farris added 15 points for LIU.
Sophomore Sydney Hines contributed 10 points, and CCSU shot a total 27-of-29 (93.1%) from the free throw line, that proved to be the difference maker in the game.
Central Connecticut returns to action with a trip to Pennsylvania to take on St. Francis U on Saturday at 12PM (ESPN3), and then Robert Morris on Monday at 7PM.