In a close-knit game that featured 12 lead changes and 12 ties, the Central Connecticut women's basketball team came up just short against the visiting LIU Blackbirds on Monday night. LIU (8-10, 4-3 NEC) snuck past the Blue Devils 61-54 after a out-scoring CCSU 20-11 in the final 10 minutes.
Central (2-15, 2-5 NEC) was lead by junior Kiana Patterson who dished out a career-high nine assists and added 14 points. The Blue Devils were 21-of-58 (.362) from the floor and LIU shot 23-for-28 (.397) for the game.
Central Connecticut took an early 12-5 lead on a 10-0 run to start Monday night's contest sparked by two three-pointers from graduate transfer Morgan Johnson. LIU's Drew Winters ended the drought with a trifecta of her own with 3:24 left in the first quarter that would lead to a 8-0 Blackbird run to end the first quarter, taking a 14-12 edge.
The Blue Devils and the Blackbirds played an even second quarter and were tied 23-23 at the half. LIU's leading scorer, Denisha Petty-Evans, lead all scorers at the break with nine points. CCSU held LIU to just 9-of-31 (29.0%) shooting in the first half.
Patterson dished out seven of her game-high 9 assists in the first half, helping Central shoot 10-of-27 (37.0%).
CCSU and LIU traded the first eight baskets of the second half before freshmen Emma McCamus and Ashley Berube connected back-to-back layups at the 5:21 and 4:46 marks. Patterson drove past her Blackbird defender for a tough lay in and gave the Blue Devils a five point, 40-35, lead with a triple with 1:51 left in the third forcing LIU head coach Del Preore to take a time out.
Petty-Evans answered the call with two consecutive three-pointers out of the huddle to erase the Blackbird deficit and regain the lead at 41-40. With time expiring rookie Ashley Forker drove baseline and kicked the ball out to an open Patterson who found the back of the net on a buzzer-beater three, giving the Blue Devils a 43-41 advantage heading into the final 10 minutes of action.
Sophomore Ashley Chin knocked down 2-out-of-2 form the foul line that ignited a 7-0 Blue Devil run to open up the largest lead of the game for either team of eight points, 53-45, with 6:03 left in the game. Petty-Evans, the Blackbirds go-to, scored five straight points in LIU's 7-0 run, to cut CCSU's lead down to one point, 53-52.
Deangelique Waithe gave LIU a 56-54 lead with 57 seconds to go on two lay ups. The Blue Devils were forced to foul Drew Winter, a 49.7 percent free throw shooter, who converted 1-of-2 from the line to make is a 57-54 ball game.
Central couldn't capitalize on its next possession and LIU sealed the victory with a perfect 4-for-4 from the charity strip.
Petty-Evans finished the night with a career-high 29 points on 11-of-21 shooting, including five three-pointers. LIU was out-rebounded by the Blue Devils 38-34.
Berube collected a team-high eight rebounds, and junior Andi Lydon scored 12 points and added six boards for Central.
Central Connecticut will embark on a three-game road series next, first taking a trip to Pennsylvania to take on the Northeast Conference's two leaders, SFU and Robert Morris. Central will see the Red Flash on Saturday, Jan. 27 at 2:00 p.m. and the Colonials on Monday, Jan. 29 at 7:00 p.m.