NEW BRITAIN - There were 12 seconds left in the game. The CCSU women were down by one point to Bryant and had the basketball. The Blue Devils ran a play for Andi Lydon on a post up and she delivered with a sweet right-handed baby hook to give CCSU a 53-52 lead with 6.5 seconds left.
The Blue Devils would get a stop on the other end and run the clock out to win the game and snap a two-game losing streak on Saturday afternoon.
“We had actually called something different at first, but that wasn’t working,” CCSU head coach Beryl Piper said. “In the timeout I figured Andi was having such a good game that she deserved the shot. I was a little bit nervous because we had trouble getting the ball into the post all game, but it worked out.”
“Coach called a play for me in the post and I knew I was going to get a good screen from Cebria,” said Lydon, who finished with a game-high 23 points and added seven rebounds. “I wasn’t going to force anything, but it was there so I took it and thankfully it went in.”
The shot ended up being a game winner, but there was still plenty of time for Bryant to get a shot up and take the lead right back. CCSU’s defense buckled down, though, and prevented a heartbreaking loss.
“I was definitely nervous that there was so much time left,” Lydon said. “6.5 seconds isn’t a lot of time in real life, but in basketball it’s an eternity, so they had a chance, but we did a good job of getting a stop.”
The Blue Devils came out of the gates in the second half on fire. Lydon got the team started with six consecutive points and Ashley Chin knocked down a triple to cut the deficit to two less than three minutes into the third.
After a Bryant timeout, CCSU took the lead as that run extended to 15-2. Chayla Lewis had a big impact during the run as she scored six points and grabbed several rebounds.
The third quarter as a whole was a great one for the Blue Devils as they outscored the Bulldogs 24-11 to take a four point lead entering the final period.
Both teams started the fourth quarter ice cold. The first points of the quarter for either side came with just over five minutes left and that was on a Giocelis Reynoso layup. Reynoso didn’t start on the game for the first time all season and didn’t enter until the third quarter.
Her absence was noticeable as the Bryant bigs had their fingerprints all over the first half action.
In the second half, though, with Reynoso in the lineup, the Blue Devils didn’t allow much inside. The senior fouled out of the game with less than two minutes left and her team up by three points. CCSU was able to hold on without its starting center in the end.
“Gio has been great for us all season on the court,” Piper said. “Hopefully she continues to be great for us on the court and gets better off the court.”
Bryant jumped out to an early 10-3 lead in the opening minutes of the game. Klein scored six of those points, including two makes from the free-throw line.
CCSU, led by Lydon’s five first quarter points, outscored the Bulldogs 11-6 for the rest of the quarter to only have a two point deficit after one.
The Blue Devils were unable to build off of that momentum in the second quarter as they were held scoreless for the first five-plus minutes of the second quarter. During that cold stretch Bryant was able to extend the lead to 10. Olander had six points during that stretch for the Bulldogs.
Olander finished the half with 10 points and five rebounds as Bryant entered the break up 30-21. CCSU shot just 27 percent in the first half.