by Patrick Gustavson
The Central Connecticut women’s basketball team was unable to capture their first win of the season, falling to Mt. St. Mary’s, in the Northeast Conference opener, by the score of 68-65.
The Mountaineers entered the game with a 3-8 record, giving CCSU a strong chance to break their winless streak, and through three quarters of play, it looked like they might do so.
Offensive woes plagued the Blue Devils through the first quarter and early minutes of the second, trailing 30-18 with just under four minutes remaining the in the second quarter. However, the team then came alive offensively, going on an 11-0 run, cutting the Mountaineer lead to just one at the break.
“It was different kids in the game. Defensively, they really hustled and ran. Ashley Chin got some layups. We got some easy baskets in transition,” said head coach Beryl Piper, on her team’s performance in that span. “I thought they gave us really good energy, but they got tired, so we put other kids in, and the energy level dropped. We have to be able to keep up that intensity, whoever’s on the floor.”
The Blue Devils hung around in the third, trailing by just four points heading into the final period. However, the team managed to muster up just seven points, while shooting just 25 percent from the floor, leading to their 12-point defeat.
The Mountaineers, on the other hand, were firing on all cylinders, making 45 percent of their attempted field goals. These offensive woes and missed shots were the team’s undoing, per Piper, who said: “We missed 50 shots. We out shot-them, we took 71 shots to their 58, and we missed 50 shots. That hurt us.”
“Sometimes we’re driving in and making the right move, but we just throw it up at the basket. We’re not getting our bodies under control to finish strong,” she continued. “Kids catch the ball and have an open look, then try to force penetration that maybe isn’t there. We just weren’t making the right decisions at the right time.”
Piper applauded her team for being able to create shots, but ultimately knows that’s all for nothing if they can’t get those shots to fall.
The team was unable to contain Mountaineers forward Caroline Hummell, who dominated in the paint, scoring 21 points (on 9-13 shooting), adding seven rebounds.
However, there were some bright spots for the Blue Devils team. Freshman forward Tiffany Slicklein, who had scored just six points in the previous 11 games, had seven on the night, shooting 75 percent from the floor.
Fellow forward Denisha Gardner also had her best performance of the year, scoring six points and bringing in 11 rebounds.
“Denisha is going to get after the ball, rebounding,” said Piper. “She goes out of the game, and all of a sudden they’re getting offensive rebounds and put-backs.”
Piper believes her team needs to cut back on the turnovers and improve their shooting percentage to obtain their first win.
“We need more consistency. Knowing game for game that these kids are going to give you certain things, and right now, we don’t know who’s going to have a great game and who’s going to struggle,” she said.
The Blue Devils will continue the quest for their first win against Wagner on Saturday afternoon.