“What do you do when teams shoot the ball like that?”
It was an impressive performance for CCSU women’s basketball coach Beryl Piper to watch when the Sacred Heart Pioneers rolled through New Britain on Monday. The CCSU women’s basketball team has come a long way from last season but they haven’t travelled past the Sacred Heart Pioneers yet.
The Northeast Conference regular season champions came into New Britain and served notice to the Blue Devils, defeating them 81- 62. It’s hard to complain about what the Blue Devils have done this year under second year head coach Beryl Piper. Going from four wins to 17 is a remarkable feat no matter what the outcome of their season. But the Blue Devils recent performance begs the question of whether or not they will ever be able to step up beyond the elite SHU squad.
So far they have been able to overcome all of the other opponents that have stood in their way like Robert Morris and Monmouth. Much like the Blue Devils, the Pioneers are a very young team and will retain most of their major pieces for the next two seasons. This has all the makings of a classic rivalry that will last. The teams are geographically linked and both have a young core of players who have exceeded expectations for this season, albeit CCSU has exceeded theirs by leaps and bounds. Plus SHU has been the one opponent that the Blue Devils, or any other team in the NEC for that matter, haven’t been able to figure outthis season.
Like Peyton Manning, the Blue Devils are up against their Tom Brady and the Patriots and right now things aren’t looking good. It may be awhile before Central gets to write its chapter of the rivalry. The Blue Devils may go further than anyone expected except they probably won’t win the one game no one will expect them to. Central players were upset about their second defeat at the hands of the Pioneers and it is a certainty that this one stung all the more considering it happened in their own gymnasium.
But it just might not be their time yet; at least not yet their time against the Pioneers
“Our kids were upset,” said Piper. “And that’s a good thing. You don’t want them to be like, ‘we’re not supposed to win this game’ they wanted to win this game and they were upset with themselves.”
It is good to hear that the Blue Devils learned that losing is something they should never settle for after it had become such a tradition at Central. The hope would have to be that the Blue Devils take that anger and use it to make sure they never get complacent with the gains they have made this season.
The Blue Devils may get a third try at SHU in the NEC Tournament but the match up will be at the Pioneer’s house and Central will need to do a better job at defending the perimeter, something they have done well, except against the Pioneers.
For all of the tactical lessons the coach Piper will take from their most recent encounter with the top seed, the main lesson for her to take away, is that for once, losing is something that is hard to swallow for women’s basketball at CCSU.
-Peter Collin, Managing Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org