The Central Connecticut women's basketball team concluded Saint Francis U's season on Sunday, March 5, 65-57, at Degol Arena in Loretto, PA in the Northeast Conference quarterfinal game. The Blue Devils out-scored the Red Flash 26-14, going 8-of-10 from the floor to closeout the playoff victory. Sophomore Kiana Patterson led the hot-shooting fourth quarter with three three-pointers, and finished with a game-high 19 points.
Senior Chayla Lewis recorded a career-high performance with 13 points on 5-of-shooting, helping CCSU shoot 42.4% (25-59) for the game. The Red Flash made 37.5% (24-64) of their attempts.
Central play at the first-seeded Robert Morris Colonials in the Northeast Conference semifinal game on Wednesday, March 8 at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN3 seeking its first NEC Title in program history. CCSU improves its record to 11-19 overall and 9-9 in the conference. SFU ends the 2016-17 season at 16-14 and 13-5 in the league.
Trailing 10-6 in the first, freshman Taylor Goode sank a baseline jumper, and senior Chayla Lewis notched four points off the bench in the final minutes. The Blue Devils were down three, 16-13 after a quiet intial 10 minutes of action.
Freshman Cebria Outlow tabbed her first points of the game from the foul line, going 2-for-2, and then found Lewis under the hoop for a layup with a no look pass. The freshman continued her first half impact, playing in her first collegiate playoff game, when she cut the Red Flash lead to 26-23 on an offensive put-back.
In the final two minutes of the first half, Outlow found senior Giocelis Reynoso for two high-low layups against SFU's zone, bringing her assist total to six at the half. Central shot 13-for-30 (43.3%) and Saint Francis went 12-of-30 (40.0%) from the floor, and Lewis led CCSU with eight points.
In their two prior meetings the Blue Devils and Red Flash had combined for 37 three's, however, they collectively only made two in the first half of Sunday's contest in a much different style of play.
With 4:28 on the clock, Reynoso stole a pass, and scored a break-away lay up while getting fouled by Jessica Kovatch. Kovatch, the NEC's leading scorer, was charged with her fourth foul sending her to the Red Flash bench. One minute later, Patterson gave the Blue Devils their first lead of the game 37-36 on a 12-foot jumpshot.
Patterson drained three three's, and sophomore Andi Lydon, who score 29 points last time in Degol, tipped in a missed shot, giving CCSU a four point lead and the momentum. Two starters for Saint Francis, Courtney Zezza and Kovatch fouled out in the fourth as CCSU ran away with the victory.
Zezza paced SFU with 16 points, and the Blue Devils held Kovatch in check to 12 points. Outlow dished out a career high eight assists. CCSU out rebounded Saint Francis 49-37.
Saint Francis U. had won 26 previous NEC playoff games at home before falling to the Blue Devils on Sunday.