The Central Connecticut women's basketball team erased 12-point first half deficit to take a late three-point third quarter lead, but couldn't not take down the visiting Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers Friday night. The Mount won the 2017-18 Northeast Conference opener 68-56, despite led by a game-high 21 points from senior Caroline Hummell.
CCSU (0-12, 0-1 NEC) managed 29.6 percent from the floor (21-71) and was led by 11 points from junior Kiana Patterson. The Blue Devils out-rebounded Mount St. Mary's 45-41 including 21 offensive boards. Gardener ended the night with a game and season-high 11 rebounds and added six points and three assists.
Mount St. Mary's led 20-14 after the first 10 minutes of 2017-18 NEC play, knocking down three triples and finishing the quarter on a 12-4 run. Rookie Ashley Berube began the second quarter with an offensive put back for Central, but the Mountaineers would pull away to a 12-point lead following an 8-0 run.
Freshman Tiffany Slicklein powered in an old-fashioned three-point play with 2:23 left before the half and finished a feed from junior Sydney Hines one minute later to cut the lead down to five points. A running jump shot from Hines followed by a steal and pass ahead to a sprinting sophomore Ashley Chin who finished the play in transition, completed an 11-0 CCSU spurt to conclude the first half on Friday night.
The Blue Devils trailed 30-29 at halftime and Patterson led all scorers with eight points. CCSU held a 26-21 advantage on the glass led by five first half boards from junior Andi Lydon.
CCSU took its first lead since the 2:14 mark in the first quarter with 5:56 on the clock on a lay in from junior Denisha Gardener. Senior Mount center, Caroline Hummell silenced a 15-0 CCSU run scoring on three of four possessions early in the third quarter.
Mount St. Mary's and Central Connecticut traded baskets for the remainder of the quarter as the Mountaineers gained a four-point lead, 51-47, heading into the final 10 minutes of play.
MSM capitalized on back-to-back Blue Devil turnovers taking off on a 6-0 segment and opened the game up to a nine-point margin, 59-50. Patterson answered with her third trifecta of the contest, but the Mountaineers would hold on to seal the NEC opener.
Slicklein scored a season-high seven points and Mount St. Mary's Katrice Dickson notched a game-high 12 rebounds. Bridget Birkhead scored a career-high 14 points included four three-pointers.
The Central Connecticut women's basketball team will host Wagner, who snagged its first Northeast Conference win earlier on Friday at Bryant, 75-66, on Sunday, New Year's Eve. The Blue Devils will tip off against the Seahawks at 1:00 p.m.