NEW BRITAIN â€“ The CCSU womenâ€™s basketball team finally has some games under its belt, beginning its season on Monday following a pause in team activities due to a positive covid test that forced the Blue Devils to cancel their non-conference matchups.
CCSU, now 1-1 on its young season after splitting two road games against St. Francis Brooklyn this week, will play its home opener on Saturday against Fairleigh Dickinson, looking to carry over its momentum from its two strong performances to start the season.
The season just started for the Blue Devils, but here are some early observations from their performance so far.
MUCH IMPROVED OFFENSE?
The scoring totals for CCSU through two games really jumps out, especially given how the teamâ€™s offense fared last season. The Blue Devils dropped 87 points on opening day, way more than any single game performance from last year, when the team averaged just 57.2 points per game.
But these first two games have shown quite the turnaround, especially for Emma McCamus, who dropped a career-high 30 points in the season opener, and another 14 in Tuesdayâ€™s loss. The only question will be if such production can be carried over against better defensive opponents. Last year, St. Francis Brooklyn allowed 73.4 points per game, the worst mark in the NEC, so it will be interesting to see how CCSU fares this weekend against Fairleigh Dickinson, which boasted the third-best defense in the conference last season.
BERUBE STILL LEADING THE WAY
The Blue Devilsâ€™ leading scorer from last season put up a double-double in Tuesdayâ€™s defeat, but the senior center is already showing that she will once again be a huge part of CCSUâ€™s scoring attack this year, and for good reason. Berube dropped a game-high 23 points on Tuesday, and did so with spectacular efficiency, shooting 11-for-19 from the floor in her second double-double performance in as many games. Berube, climbing the Blue Devilsâ€™ historic ranks in the block department, had four rejections on Tuesday to add to her five that she recorded on Monday, showing very early on that she will once again be a dominant two-way player for CCSU, and the anchor of the teamâ€™s performance in the paint.
Another key returner for Kerri Reavesâ€™ veteran group is forward Ashley Forker, a mainstay in last yearâ€™s starting lineup who has been a big part of the teamâ€™s scoring surge this past week. Forker shot 8-for-12 from the field in Mondayâ€™s victory, and is shooting over 50 percent from the field so far.
Elsewhere in the starting lineup, Forever Toppin will look to find some more efficiency this weekend after having a rough first two games. Toppin shot 3-for-14 in the season opener and 1-for-5 on Tuesday, while missing both of her free throw attempts. If Toppin could get going along with Berube, McCamus and Forker, the Blue Devils could find themselves on track to be one of the most improved offenses in the conference this season.
BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE
CCSU struggled across the board last season, except at the charity stripe, where it shot over 72 percent, the fourth-best mark in the NEC. The teamâ€™s efficiency from the foul line has carried over through the teamâ€™s first two games. As a group, the Blue Devils made 10 of their 11 foul shots on Monday, then hit 11 of their 14 tries on Tuesday, which could prove important when the team finds itself in close games during conference play.