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Bryant outlasts CCSU, 56-53

Photo by: Stephen McLaughlin
Photo by: Stephen McLaughlin

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – Sophomore Nicole Gallagher and senior Brooke Bjelko helped the Bryant University women's basketball team bounce back to even the series at Central Connecticut on Wednesday night, 56-53.

Gallagher led with 15 points and added seven rebounds while Bjelko posted her second-straight double-double of 14 points and ten rebounds. Junior transfer Fatou Jallow got things done on the defensive end and proved why she is one of the top defenders in the conference with a career-best six steals. Rookies Juliette Golden and Stephanie Mayerhofer also provided for the Bulldogs tonight as Golden netted nine points and pulled down seven rebounds, while Mayerhofer added a career-high of six points and four rebounds.

THE PARTICULARS
Bryant 56, Central Connecticut 53
Records: Bryant (5-5, 3-3) | Central Connecticut (3-7, 3-7)
Location: Detrick Gymnasium (New Britain, Conn.)

KEY MOMENT

  • The Bulldogs separated themselves in the second quarter when they outscored Central Connecticut, 21-10. Bryant grew to its largest lead of the night with a 13-point cushion thanks to an 8-0 run sparked by Bjelko.
  • The Black and Gold posted their best offensive performance of the night in the second frame shooting 42.1% (8-19) from the field and 75% (3-4) from the three-point line.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Jallow and the Bulldogs started the game strong when they jumped to an early 11-5 lead thanks to the Stockholm native who netted the first six points. The sequence was highlighted by back-to-back steals which led to two fast-break layups.
  • Bryant went on a 9-2 run to grow to a seven-point lead, but the Blue Devils pulled within two before the end of the first quarter with a 7-2 run of their own.
  • With eight minutes still to play in the second quarter, Gallagher drained two consecutive three-pointers to extend Bryant's lead to 11, which forced a CCSU timeout. However, the Blue Devils responded by getting six-straight points, 29-24, before both teams went on a three-minute scoring drought.  
  • The drought was ended with 2:13 left to go in the first half when Bjelko hit a pair of free throws to spark an 8-0 run which gave Bryant its largest lead of the night, 37-24. Bjelko led the charge with six of the eight points to close out the half.
  • Central Connecticut came out of the locker room strong and took off on an 11-0 run to cut into the Bryant lead and force a two-point game.
  • Bryant refused to let CCSU back into the game and immediately bounced back to a double-digit cushion with a quick 10-0 run. The Blue Devils went on to get four more points before the end of the third frame, 47-39.
  • Central refused to go away as they pulled within two when Ashley Forker dove to the basket for a layup with 1:42 left to play. The Bulldogs held on to their lead and sank one more free throw before the end of the game, 56-53.

STATS

  • Gallagher shot five-of-12 from the field and four-of-seven from behind the arc to lead the Black and Gold with 15 points.
  • Bjelko posted her second-straight double-double with 14 points (5-11) and 10 rebounds. Seven of her ten rebounds were from the offensive end of the floor. The senior also chipped in three blocks and three assists.
  • Golden was just shy of breaking into the double-digit club with nine points (4-10) and seven rebounds.
  • Jallow contributed a game-high of six steals along with six points, five rebounds, and one assist.
  • Mayerhofer was two-of-six from three for a total of six points. The rookie also pulled down four rebounds and dished out one assist.
  • Kandis Taylor added four points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
  • The Bulldogs shot 34.9% from the field (22-63) and went six-of-18 from long distance. Bryant also improved their free throw shooting percentage from the previous night with a 60% mark (6-10)
  • Bryant dominated the boards, 48-36, including 21 offensive rebounds. The Bulldogs posted 17 points off second-chance opportunities. 

GAME NOTES

  • Jallow's six steals marks a career-best in a Bryant uniform.
  • Bjelko posts six double-doubles on the year and 11 in her career.
  • Mayerhofer posted her best offensive performance of her young career with a career-high of six points.
  • The Bulldogs grow to 15-11 all-time against the Blue Devils but CCSU continues to hold the record in New Britain, 8-6.

UP NEXT
Bryant hosts Sacred Heart in an NEC series this weekend beginning Saturday, Feb. 13. Both games in the series are set for a 4 p.m. tip as Saturday's game will appear on COX YurView New England (Channel 4 in Rhode Island).