Women look for season sweep of CCSU

Brittany Stahura  (Athletic Communications)
Brittany Stahura (Athletic Communications)


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SMITHFIELD, R.I. - The Bryant University women's basketball team will look for the season sweep of Northeast Conference rival Central Connecticut State this afternoon at the Chace Athletic Center.  The Bulldogs posted a six-point victory over the Blue Devils nearly one month ago at Detrick Gymnasium, winning that showdown by a 68-62 margin.


Both teams have faced off seven times since the Bulldogs made the move to the Division I ranks in 2008-09, and Bryant now holds a slim edge in the all-time series, owning a 4-3 record over CCSU.

Bryant took the first win in the series back on Nov. 25, 2008, and went on to win the first three games overall.  The Blue Devils, however, rebounded by winning the ensuing three tilts, including a season sweep in 2010-11. But Bryant moved right back in front thanks to the squad's victory in New Britain, Conn., this past December.  


The Bulldogs fell at home to Quinnipiac, dropping an 84-47 decision to the visiting Bobcats on Jan. 21.

The Bulldogs could not find their groove on a snowy afternoon, as the Bobcats capitalized on sharp shooting from the field while capitalizing on several Bryant miscues to cruise to the 37-point victory, handing the home team its worst defeat of the season.


Tabbed to finish ninth in the conference according to the preseason coaches' poll, the Blue Devils head to Smithfield with two wins in their last three outings but most recently fell, 63-57, against first-place Sacred Heart in their last game.

CCSU started the year 6-3, but a seven-game skid sent that hot start to the wayside.  The Blue Devils are 3-5 away from Detrick Gymnasium on the year, but have won 2-of-3 conference road games.  

CCSU is led by a pair of players with the last name "Babe", as sisters Jaclyn and Jessica Babe pace the Blue Devils with 14.8 and 10.5 ppg, respectively.  The former owns the best three-point shooting clip on the team having gone 25-of-75 (33.3 percent) from downtown, while the latter has totaled team-highs in assists (88) and steals (50).  Kirsten Daamen also logs double-digit scoring, averaging 13.4 points per contest, but her most impressive attributes may lie in the rejection department.  Daamen's 42 blocks and 2.33 denials per game average both rank first among all conference players, while that blocks per game average ranks 32nd nationally.

Compared to the rest of the conference, CCSU ranks in the top third of the league in field goal and free throw shooting, but the Blue Devils also have defended well.  The Blue Devils rank second in the league from the stripe (.715) and third from the field (.401), and the visitors also boast the top field goal and three-point defenses, holding opponents to a combined 34.6 percent conversion rate (362-of-1047) from the field and allowing just 60 three-point baskets in 278 attempts (.216) through 18 games this season.


Leading by 14 points with 10 minutes remaining, the Bryant University women's basketball team withstood a vigorous rally by host Central Connecticut State University, but the comeback eventually fell short, as the Bulldogs picked up a resounding 68-62 win at Detrick Gymnasium for the team's first conference victory of the season on Dec. 28, 2011.

With nearly 30 minutes of game time already completed, the Bulldogs appeared to be on their way to a comfortable victory and lead by as many as 17 points early in the second frame. But the Blue Devils came alive late in the second half, and scored 41 points altogether in that frame after mustering just 21 points in the first stanza.

The intensity of the conference battle –Bryant's first since an 11-point loss at Quinnipiac back on Dec. 3 – truly picked up with less than seven minutes to play, as CCSU looked to its home-court advantage to spark what was up until then ar elatively stagnant offense. The Blue Devils nearly doubled their total scoring output for the entire game after the 10-minute mark of the second half, scoring 27 points in the final seven minutes, but the visitors were able to bear down in the closing moments of the contest.


The Bulldogs are undefeated (5-0) in games immediately following losses this season, most recently keeping that streak intact with a victory against Wagner last Monday following a defeat at Mount St. Mary's two days earlier. Bryant will look to keep that streak alive today.


For the first time this season, the Bulldogs were held without a rejection ina single game, as Mount St. Mary's went the entire 40 minutes of regulation without seeing any of their shots stuffed in a win over Bryant on Jan. 14. On the year, Bryant ranks just ninth in the conference, averaging a paltry 1.88 blocks per game.


After playing just one game within the friendly confines of the Chace Athletic Center in the month of December and after playing eight of its first 12 games this season on the road, Bryant is in the midst of a season-long four-game home stretch that began on Saturday.

The Bulldogs will be home through the end of the month, with contests against league foes Monmouth and Fairleigh Dickinson after today. The Bulldogs have posted a 6-2 record at the Chace this year, and are 27-17 in Smithfield since the start of the 2008-09 season. Last year, Bryant went 7-6 with a 5-4 mark against NEC teams within the friendly confines of The Chace.


Paced by a career-high 26-point output last Monday against Wagner, Danielle Douglas led all Bulldogs last weekend with 33 total points over two games. The Silver Springs, Md., native also delivered eight assists - second most over that span - and posted a 44.0 percent shooting percentage by going 11-of-25 from the field.

But it was Douglas' performance against the Seahawks which truly stood out. The junior went off for a career-high 26 points, a mark that helped the Bulldogs fend off the Seahawks for a critical conference win. That scoring output now stands as the most for any Bryant player this season.


The Bulldogs' 37-point defeat against Quinnipiac on Saturday now stands as the worst defeat for the Bulldogs this season, topping the previous record for margin of defeat set by Boston College during a 68-42 (26 points) loss at the end of November. The 87 points allowed by Bryant against Quinnipiac represents the most scored by an opponent this season, while QU's 37-point lead at game's end stands as the greatest in-game deficit for the Bulldogs in a game this season.


Bryant University Athletics offers more ways than ever before to watch, listen or follow your Bulldogs during all the action even when you can't make it to the court!  Head to www.bryantbulldogs.tv for information about single-game and full- season broadcasting packages, where you can watch webcasts of the Bulldogs for most home games.  Live stats can be found at www.bryantbulldogs.com for every contest, and you can follow @BryantGameday on Twitter for score updates.