By Derek Turner
Central Connecticut won the offensive rebounding battle 19-8 against Quinnipiac, but couldn’t quite hold on in the loss Wednesday night.
The Blue Devils fell to the Bobcats 63-53 in a game that was postponed three times due to the blizzard that has crippled the state for over a week.
Playing their first game in nine days, Central was held without a bucket for the first 3:40 of play time. Quinnipiac jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead, but CCSU would tie the game at four on a Jessica Babe layup, but they would never lead. At the 10:17 mark in the first half, Jaclyn Babe hit a jump shot for her first basket of the night, giving her 1,000 career points.
Fouls plagued the entire game (47 in total), but hurt the Blue Devils a little bit more. Central reached their 10th team foul with 6:26 remaining in the first half, but Quinnipiac did not benefit from the double bonus for the rest of the first half.
Maria Napolitiano hit a three with 1:01 left in the first half after a Raven Mankins layup cut the CCSU deficit to three. Jessica Babe hit one of two free throws going into halftime trailing 20-24.
“We really struggled offensively in the first half, we threw the ball away,” said Head Coach Beryl Piper.
Central came out of the locker room on a 6-2 run, Lauren Arbogast hit a three and then Kaley Watras completed an old-fashioned three-point play, cutting the Bobcat lead back to one, but that would be as close as they would get for the rest of the game.
Quinnipiac answered with a 9-2 run of their own led by four points from Brittany McQuain, the lead scorer in the game with 21.
“She’s their go-to kid and we didn’t have an answer for that and that hurt us,” said Piper about McQuain.
The fouls kept adding up in the second half. Quinnipiac reached the 10 foul limit 10:47 into the half and Central reached the double bonus just under the five minute mark. The Bobcats shot a perfect 14-14 from the free throw line in the second half.
“It’s a rough game when you have all those fouls called and you have kids sitting on the bench,” said Piper.
A 7-0 run led by the Babe sisters brought the Blue Devils within two with 9:13 left in the game, but Quinnipiac quickly shut it down, outscoring CCSU 17-9 for the rest of the game to stay perfect in Northeast Conference play at 11-0.
Piper stressed the fact that they had to get offensive rebounds to stay in this game, but they also gave away 26 turnovers.
“We felt like we needed kids that were going to get offensive rebounds and be active on the boards, Jameilia’s [Dillon] been doing that for us in practice, so we went with that,” said Piper.
Central grabbed 19 offensive rebounds and turned them into eight second chance points. The 26 turnovers by the Blue Devils led to 22 points by the opposition.
Jaclyn Babe finished the game with 13 points, leading the way for CCSU. Her 1,011 career (as of Jan. 13) points spans two different schools. 820 points have come as a Blue Devil, but her first two seasons were spent at Duquesne where she scored 191 points.
“They did a really good job on her tonight staying with her, trying not to let her touch the ball and she still managed to figure out a way to score 13,” said Piper on senior guard Jaclyn Babe.