All posts by Brennah Dallaire

Lady Blue Devils Head To Northeast Conference Quarterfinal

by Humera Gul

Central Connecticut State University blew past St. Francis Brooklyn in the final home game of the season, at a final score of 71-44.

Kiana Patterson led the team in scoring with 17 points. She was seven of 13 from the field including three of seven from the arc. Patterson also got four rebounds, two assists and a steal.

“I’m just excited for our seniors, I thought they played a really good game. I thought they bought a lot of energy and it’s an exciting time of the year to have the energy that we had, and be able to beat someone the way we did. We are going into playoffs and we have one regular game left on Monday,” said Blue Devils Head Coach Beryl Piper.

“We assisted on 19 of the 26 baskets we made, which is a really good stat and shows our team work. I was just really happy for them and this was their last time playing in Kaiser,” Piper said.

“Well I think the biggest thing is, against Saint Francis, the way they play it was really important for us to penetrate and get into the paint. We were able to do that and we were able to find shooters and they knocked down shots. We shot 70 percent in the fourth period and that allows us to keep the lead. We were also four of five, in three pointers in the fourth quarter,” Piper said.

CCSU Senior Giocelis Reynoso, was one of the three seniors recognized prior to the game. She was three of four from the field and two of two on foul shots. She had an astonishing high 10 rebounds, three assists and four blocks.

Fellow senior Aleah Epps was four of five from the field, had four rebounds and three assists. Aleah Epps showed much leadership and composure during the game.

Ashley Chin played accurately. She was two of four from the field, two of three from the arc and two of two on foul shots.

According to Piper, the team just needs to stay as focused as they were on Saturday at future games. The Blue Devils will now head to the Northeast Conference Quarterfinal game on March 5.

More Than A Coach

 

Image result for ccsu donyell marshall

by Cyrus dos Santos

Central Connecticut State University men’s basketball coach Donyell Marshall, is a mentor to student athletes on and off the court. Marshall’s goal is to make the team feel like family, in addition to helping the Blue Devil’s improve their technique.

“Not only do I have to teach them the game of basketball, I have to teach them how to become men,” Marshall said.

“Not to say that their parents haven’t done that, but I think I’m an extension of that,” Marshall said.

Marshall, a 15 year National Basketball Association veteran, was drafted 4th overall out of UCONN by the Minnesota Timberwolves. During his time in the league, he played for 8 teams and finished with a .435 career field goal percentage. He ranks 302 for all-time points scored. Throughout his professional career, when it came to negative actions, Marshall stayed out of the public eye.

“I was never in the paper for nothing negative,” Marshall said.

“I think I’ve always been a good mentor to my own kids…I’m a role model, they’re all my kids, to me,” Marshall said.

“He takes us out to eat,” said Khalen Cumberlander, a senior on the team. “We went bowling last week,” he added, noting the many ways Marshall offers himself to his players. Cumberlander noted that he makes the men feel “that we’re family at the end of the day.”

“That’s the way we were at Connecticut,” Marshall said, referring to his time at UCONN under Coach Jim Calhoun. “We still see each other, we call each other,” he continued.

In the midst of a frustrating season, one of the team’s players suffered a loss in the family leading up to the Blue Devil’s game against Saint Francis University; Central’s first win in the Northeast Conference. Flowers were sent by the team to show their support.

“The first thing I said was, ‘This is our brother,’ ” Marshall said. “He’s going home to go through stuff, but you sent him on a high note,” Marshall continued.

“We preach the family atmosphere,” Marshall said, referring to recruiting players.

This was something he learned from his own experience in high school.

“I felt the sincerity in Coach Calhoun,” he remembered. “When he came to my house, he looked me in the eye the whole time.”

Marshall also noted that despite being a McDonald’s All-American player, Calhoun gave him no promise of a starting position; it was his genuineness that led Marshall to UCONN.

“When I recruit, that’s the way I try to recruit,” Marshall said.

Reflecting on the core of players he has now, Marshall’s commitment to the players extends beyond the twelve-man roster.

“We have the trust and belief of the parents,” he said.

“I guess it’s translated over,” Marshall added, “Because the crazy part is, after games when we lose, the first people who text me are the parents of the kids.”

Marshall recalled the comments he gets from parents including words of encouragement such as “Keep your head up coach” and “We still believe in you.”

“That always puts a smile back on your face. That you have the trust and belief of the parents,” Marshall said.

Marshall’s own sincerity is a by-product of the men he’s played for over the years. Though Calhoun’s style helps at the college level, there are others who’ve left their mark on Marshall.

“Jerry Sloan is probably my favorite NBA coach,” he noted.

The Blue Devil’s level of success this season is far from what fans may be looking for. But, Marshall is mindful, despite their 5-22 record, that there are signs of improvement.

“They were 351 last year,” Marshall said, concerning the team’s Ratings Percentage Index (RPI). CCSU is now 341, out of 351. “So, we jumped up ten spots,” Marshall said.

“You can look at the difference between this year and last year, the culture’s changing” said sophomore guard, Austin Nehls.

“If it was going to be easy, then everybody would be doing it,” said Marshall, referring to a motto they’ve adopted this season.

Last season, the Blue Devils finished with a 4-25 losing record.

“I’m a competitor,” said Marshall. “While I might have made a one game improvement, I’m not happy with myself,” Marshall continued.

“What did I do wrong in those games that we didn’t win,” he reflected.

As far as when fans can expect to see a significant change, Marshall stated that he didn’t want to put a time-table on it.

“Because for me, the competitiveness I have, next year I want to be better. Next year I want to get to the NCAA Tournament,” Marshall said.

“My time-table is always now,” said Marshall.

Blue Devils Outscored In The Paint

by Humera Gul

Central Connecticut State University’s Women’s Basketball fell to Robert Morris on Saturday in a devastating 62-39 loss. The Blue Devils struggled to find an identity and had a hard time making baskets.

CCSU had a very hard time shooting as they were only 12 of 54 from the field, 1 of 17 for three pointers and 14 of 24 from the foul line. The team passed the ball often. The loss wasn’t due to players hogging the ball or shooting preemptively. CCSU shot 1 for 17 three pointers, the lowest statistic of the category I have ever seen in a basketball game.

Robert Morris on the other hand had no problem shooting. They were 24 of 47 from the field, 5 of 12 for three pointers and 9 of 11 from the foul line. They had a total of 59 shots taken, where CCSU had 71 shots but CCSU was not able to capitalize on the extra possessions.

“Number one, they are a very good team, and this one I believe is their ninth straight win. There is a reason why they won as many games they won. They are number one in the conference and they are playing like that,” said Blue Devils Coach, Beryl Piper.

One Blue Devil that never gave up and continued to play was Aleah Epps. She was 3 out of 7 from the field and 2 out of 3 from the foul line. She played 32 of the 40 minutes in the game. She also had 4 rebounds, 1 assist and a steal. Giocelis Reynoso also stood out. Reynoso was only 2 of 7 from the field and 2 of 4 from the foul line. However, she did get eight rebounds and two steals.

“We just struggled offensively to find scores, we had some layups, we couldn’t make them. When you look at the shooting percentage, that’s the difference of the game. In the first period, they shot 62%, and in the second period 58%. We shot 20 and 8%. We couldn’t find a way to get a basket and they outscored us in the paint. They played tough and we really struggled against them, Coach Piper said.

The Blue Devils did struggle in the paint defensively, and was unable to do any damage in the paint.

Colonial Mikalah Mulrain shot 4 out of 5 from the field and 2 of 2 from the foul line. She also had an astounding nine rebounds, five were offensive rebounds, one assist and a block.

The Blue Devils record fell to 9-17 overall and 8-7 in the NEC play. Robert Morris is first in the division,17-9 overall and 12-3 in the NEC play.

CCSU will face off against Sant Francis Brooklyn at 1.p.m. this Saturday to close out their home games.

Blue Devils Miss Playoff Deadline

by Humera Gul

Central Connecticut State University’s men’s basketball team played their hearts out, but fell to Robert Morris 74-64. The team was able to cut a 19 point deficit down to just five point, however, it was too little too late.

The team struggled with shooting and finishing plays. Central shot 22 of 60 from the field, 7 of 18 for three pointers, and 13 of 25 at the foul line. The Blue Devils had the crowd roaring during the comeback moments.

“It comes down to guys that haven’t been in this situation before, meaning, the game of this magnitude, and I think we came out nervous,” said Coach Donyell Marshall.

It did take the blue devils some time to settle into the game. Khalen Cumberlander did all he could to win the game for his senior year. Cumberlander made 9 of 17 field goals, including three three pointers. He also scored three out of his six foul shots. He finished with 24 points for the game. He also had five rebounds and one assist. He not only led the team in points scored, but also scored more than any other player in the game.

Coach Marshall had nothing but good things to say about Khalen.
“Khalen has been playing well, he’s been playing a lot harder. I think he was feeling his senior year is on the line and he only had a couple of games left. In the huddles, he was very talkative and became a leader for this team. It’s sad because as a new coach, I only got one year with a guy like that.”

Another Blue Devil that catches the eye is Austin Nehls. Nehls was 3 for 10 in his field goals, included two three pointers. He finished 6 of 9 foul shots. He also was part of an alley-oop, where he passed it to Cumberlander and Cumberlander dunked it. Nehls also had two rebounds and three assists.

Blue Devil’s rookie Tyson Batiste had three rebounds, five assists and two steals.

“Unfortunately, by the time we got clicking and we got going, it was too little too late. We expanded so much energy doing it, but you got to keep working and building on it. We were officially eliminated, but we got two games left and we will try to win those games,” Coach Marshall said.

Isaiah Still of Robert Morris made significant contributions to the game. Still was 6 of 15 in his field goals including a three pointer. He scored a high 9 of 11 on his foul ball, and finished with 22 points for the game. Still also had eight rebounds, two assists and a steal.

Still’s teammate Aaron Tate finished 3 out of 4 from the field and 4 out of 4 on foul shots. He also recorded eight rebounds.

The loss drops CCSU to 5-22 overall and 3-13 in the NEC. This loss eliminates the Blue Devils from playoff contention. CCSU will hosts St. Francis Brooklyn in its final home game of the season and its seniors night. Watch out for Khalen Cumberlander.

A Streak Unlike Any Other

by Tyler Roaix

The University of Connecticut Women’s Basketball team made history reaching a 100 game winning streak, after their defeat against sixth ranked South Carolina. The streak has built up over the past three seasons, and has brought UConn two national championships.

If there is anything this streak has proven, it’s that UConn has had its sport under it’s control since Geno Auriemma took over as head coach. Much like Alabama has controlled college football or how the Yankees controlled baseball. But somehow, this seems almost more impressive.

It isn’t just the fact that the Huskies won 100 games in a row. It’s the fact that they have crushed pretty much everyone in their way. Of the 100 games, a whopping 71 of them were victories by at least 30 points. Just two wins were by less than 10 points. All in all, their average margin of victory during the streak has been 38.4 points. Just to add insult to injury, nine of the wins came against teams ranked third or better, with the smallest margin of victory in those games being just six points.

This isn’t the first time the Huskies have went on a long winning streak. In fact, they now hold four of the top five longest win streaks in women’s college basketball history, all of which have happened since the 2001-2002 season. This streak began in 2014 after a two-point loss to Stanford.

The craziest part about this UConn team is not only how good they are, but also the fact that they are only going to get better. They have just three seniors on their roster. Saniya Chong is the only senior actually in the starting lineup. Of course, Auriemma has the best of the best at the high school level coming in next season, including Megan Walker, who’s is widely known as the best high school player in the country.

Critics will argue that the lack of competition in women’s college basketball takes away from the impressiveness of the streak. But let’s be honest, over a streak of 100 games, it’s really easy to have a bad game and slip up. Maybe you just get outplayed one night or someone makes a crazy shot to win the game. But nothing like that has happened. The bottom line is that UConn has played near perfect basketball over the past three years. That has nothing to do with the competition, that’s just how good the Huskies are.

Who knows when the streak will end, if at all this year. It’s more than likely UConn will be taking their usual place, cutting down the nets, at the end of the tournament in April. Say what you will about women’s college basketball, but this 100 game win streak is the latest step in a long line of dominance by the Huskies.