by Patrick Gustavson
A slow start doomed the Central Connecticut women’s basketball team in their home opener against Brown by a score of 78-55. The Bears started the game on an unprecedented 23-0 run, leaving the Blue Devils in a hole that couldn’t recover from.
Despite many open looks, the team was unable to convert, missing their first 14 shots from the field. The physical play of the Bears thwarted most opportunities in the paint in the first quarter.
Head coach Beryl Piper said of her team’s struggles: “We needed to be a little more aggressive getting to the rim, trying to put a little more pressure on them, instead of settling for jump shots when we weren’t making them. We also gave them a lot of offensive rebounds early in the game.”
On a lighter note, the fire alarm went off inside Detrick Gymnasium following the conclusion of the first quarter. No one was evacuated, and following a brief delay, play resumed. “I wish we could have had that happen when they were on a 20-0 run,” said Piper.
The Blue Devils play improved slightly in the second quarter, only being outscored by the Bears by two, but still only managed to muster up 11 points of their own.
Coming out of the half, it appeared the tide had turned in favor of the Blue Devils, who started the quarter on a 10-0 run, and even cut the lead to just eight points with just over five minutes remaining in the quarter.
However, the final quarter was all Bears, who shot an astounding 67 percent from the floor, and 50 percent from beyond the arc. “They started pressing us a little bit,” Piper said. “They made a lot of big baskets, and that really kills your momentum.”
Not all went poorly for the Blue Devils, though. Junior forward Andi Lydon scored 23 points while shooting 45 percent from the field. This comes after scoring just eight points in the first two games combined. In total, eight different Blue Devils put points on the board.
Reigning NEC Player of the Week Kiana Patterson tallied another strong performance, scoring eight points with two three-pointers.
Piper also praised the performance of freshmen Ashley Forker and Emma McCamus, and emphasized that her team, with six newcomers, are still learning and improving.
The Blue Devils started their season with two tough road games against twelfth ranked West Virginia and Virginia, games that saw them lose by a margin greater than 40. Things don’t get much easier, as they travel to Penn State on Monday, their third major conference opponent in four games.
Now at 0-3 on the season, Piper believes the message for her team is to stay positive, saying: “We just have to keep our heads high and keep on working. We have to realize that it’s a work in progress. We have to learn from our mistakes. We ask: ‘what did they do today that beat us?’ Then next game, we have to try and work on that adjustment.”
She continued: “We’re trying to figure out who are going to be our go-to kids. For us, it’s about getting better every game. We’ll keep working; we’ll watch some film, so the kids can see our mistakes, and we’ll get better. That’s what this is all about.”