With the score tied at 69-69, Central Connecticut freshman Tiffany Slicklein netted the biggest three of the game on a kick-out pass from fellow rookie Emma McCamus with 9.0 seconds on the game clock to lift the Blue Devils past Sacred Heart 73-71 on Saturday. Central posted its best overall shooting percentage of the season, hitting on 28-of-64 (.438) and tied its season-high of 12 three-pointers.
Junior team captain, Kiana Patterson, paced Central with a career-high 25 points and shot the lights out from deep, connecting on five of her six three-point field goal attempts. With the win, the Blue Devils advance to 3-7 in the NEC and 3-18 on the year. Sacred Heart (7-14, 3-7 NEC) was led by Candice Leatherwood with 20 points and Katherine Haines notched a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
The Pioneers led 11-6 midway through the first quarter, building the lead on five straight points off back-to-back CCSU turnovers. Proceeding the first media break, Patterson capitalized on a Pioneers turnover with a three-pointer and junior Denisha Gardener laid in a jumper to tie the game at 13-13 with 2:13 on the clock.
Patterson knocked down her second triple at the 1:02 mark to help Central to a 16-14 lead after the first 10 minutes of action. The Blue Devils knocked down 4-of-9 three-pointers to open the game.
After having the score tied for the seventh time at 20-20 with 7:08 left in the second quarter, Central Connecticut accelerated on a 7-0 run after Sacred Heart missed two consecutive jumpers. In the stretch, freshman Emma McCamus found junior Andi Lydon on a kick-out three and junior Sydney Hines calmly sank a pull-up jumper at the foul line in transition.
SHU's Tykera Carter ended the drought at the 4:32 mark, collecting two free throws in her third trip to the line of the game. The Blue Devils maintained the positive margin the for remainder of the half, heading into the locker room with an eight-point, 34-26, lead over the Pioneers.
Central held Sacred Heart to just 9-of-33 (.273) shooting, the lowest first half field goal percentage of any opponent against CCSU this season. Paced by Lydon's nine-point second quarter, Central made 14-for-36 (.389) shots including 6-of-15 (.400) three-pointers.
Seven straight points from Patterson broke open the largest lead of the game, 41-29, to start the second half. Sacred Heart took off on two short 5-0 runs to cut the 11-point Blue Devil lead down to three points, 50-47, with 1:05 left in the third quarter. Patterson ousted the momentum with her fourth triple of the game, and Hines sliced through the lane for a reverse layup to build a 55-47 CCSU lead at the end of quarter three.
Sacred Heart chipped away slowly at the Blue Devils' lead early in the fourth quarter, trading baskets in an exciting back-and-forth fashion. An Adrianne Haywood three-pointer in transition would give the Pioneers their first lead since the 6:33 mark in the first quarter at 65-63 with 3:51 on the clock.
Following Slicklein's thrilling three-pointer with 9.0 seconds left, SHU scored a layup with 4.0 seconds on the clock to make it a 72-71 game. Patterson hit 1-of-2 free throws and time expired before Sacred Heart could get off an attempt.
Paced by Patterson's game-high, four other players for Central scored in double figures. Lydon posted 14 points, eight rebounds, and five assists in a solid performance. Berube tied her career-high in blocks with five rejections and Gardener notched a career-high three blocks.
The Blue Devils out-rebounded Sacred Heart 46-41 for the game.
The Central Connecticut women's basketball team will next host Fairleigh Dickinson on Monday, February 5 inside Detrick Gymnasium at 7:00 p.m.