By Matt Aveni
The CCSU Women’s Basketball team is fighting for a spot in the NEC Tournament. The Blue Devils are led by seniors Jaclyn Babe and Kirsten Daamen.
Currently the Blue Devils are sitting tied for fifth in the NEC and the top eight teams continue on to play in the NEC tournament. The winner of the NEC tournament has an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
It has been a dream of Jaclyn Babe’s since she was a young girl to make it to the NCAA tournament.
“My goal growing up was to make it to the NCAA tournament,” she said. “It doesn’t matter to me whether we get spanked by UCONN in the first round. It would just be an honor to make it there.”
However, the recent struggles by the Lady Blue Devils have put a postseason bid in question. Central has bounced back to win two straight games. Down the stretch of the season leadership is a quality that is overlooked in college sports but it is an attribute that separates the good players from the great players. Babe has shown her leadership on and off the court for the Blue Devils and is one of the main reasons why they are fighting for an NEC bid in this year’s tournament.
This season Babe is averaging slightly under 16 points with four rebounds and three assists. She has led the Blue Devils to a 14-12 record (8-7 NEC) and is currently seeded fifth in the NEC.
“I know that we are streaky,” she said. “Some games we will come out playing hard and other times we play flat but I think we all are coming together and have the same goal in mind and that it is to make it to the NEC tournament.”
On Feb.13 Babe scored her 1,000 career point in the loss to Quinnipiac and she was not too focused on her career achievement.
“I try not to focus on my individual stats or achievements. This team is more important than any individual achievement I can earn here. Right now our main focus is to make it to the NEC tournament. The only way to do that is win games as a team. The rest is extra,” said Babe.
Babe gives much of the credit to her co-captain Daamen. Dameen has averaged 10 points and five rebounds a game.
“Kirsten plays amazing for us. Her points and rebounds to do not even tell how much of an impact she is in the paint for us. She alters shots and forces teams to take shots that they would not normally take. She is a special player,” said Babe.
Jaclyn also has the luxury of playing with her younger sister, Jessica Babe. Jaclyn and Jess hold down the back court and facilitate the offense for the Blue Devils.
“I can’t say enough about her [Jessica’s] game. She plays hard and we feed off each other. I know what she is going to do with the ball when it is in her hands and I feel like she knows what I am going to when I have the ball. We have played together so long now that I think we feed off of each other and it makes the whole team better,” said Babe.
Last season was the first full season the Babe sisters were able to play together in college due to the transfer rules when Jaclyn transferred from Duquesne University before transferring to Central. As a freshman and sophomore at Duquesne she was not quite making the impact she thought she could be adding to her team.
She played in all 32 games as a freshman and 28 as a sophomore. At the end of her sophomore season Babe thought it was time for her to leave and she transferred to Central where Jessica was set to be a freshman.
“Transferring here was a great decision. I thought I would be able to make a difference here and make an impact on this program,” said Babe.
Right now the sole focus of Jaclyn Babe is to make it the NEC and, hopefully, NCAA tournament to complete her childhood dream as a senior here at Central.
“I know we have what it takes to make it, now we need to go out there and do it,” Babe said.