New Britain, CT – Hofstra senior forward Anma Onyeuku netted 13 points and 12 rebounds and made two game-tying free throws, but Nicole Ferguson connected on a buzzer beating jump shot as the Pride lost, 64-62, to Central Connecticut State in a rare Monday matinee in a non-conference matchup at Detrick Gymnasium.
A quick review by the officials confirmed Ferguson’s right-wing shot beat the clock. Hofstra dropped its third in a row in falling to 4-6. CCSU’s Kaley Watras scored 13 of her 22 total points in the first half as the Blue Devils improved to 6-4.
Onyeuku became the first Hofstra player to record a double-double this season and the first since Shante Evans against Northeastern on March 6. Sophomore forward Ruth Sherrill tied a career high with 13 points and added five rebounds off the bench. Fellow sophomore Asia Jackson also chipped in 11 points and three rebounds as a reserve.
CCSU’s Lauren Arbogast’s three-pointer with 1:06 left put the Blue Devils up, 61-58. Senior Annie Payton helped Hofstra battle back and move to within one point on a jumper. Payton ended her afternoon with nine points total.
Hofstra got the defensive stop it needed and called timeout with 15.8 seconds left down 61-60. Payton’s underhand layup attempt hit the side rim. CCSU gained the rebound and drew the foul, though Hofstra still had life when Kayla Miller hit the first but missed second free throw
Onyeuku hauled in the rebound and drew a foul near her own baseline. She hit both clutch free throws to make it 62-all, though Jessica Babe raced up the court and found Ferguson before the horn. With the heartbreaking loss, Hofstra fell to 6-6 in the all-time series against the Blue Devils.
Onyeuku picked up her third career double-double and Sherrill tied a career-best point total that was first set against Concordia (N.Y.) on Dec. 2 and finished in double figures for the third time this season. Arbogast had 10 points for the Blue Devils and Johnna Fisher registered 11 points off the bench
CCSU scored the first eight points of the second half as part of a 10-0 run and built a 37-31 lead aided by Watras and Arbogast hitting back-to-back three-pointers to start the second half. Sherrill stopped the stretch with consecutive three-point plays off power moves inside to tie the score at 37.
The Blue Devils then went on a 6-0 run with Fisher hitting a three-pointer and Kayla Miller connecting on a three-point play for a 43-37 lead.
Freshman Elo Edeferioka scored off a layup at the left block. But Watras made a crossover move, gained separation and swished an open three-pointer and Fisher added a layup for a 48-39 edge halfway through the period.
Jackson’s right-corner three-pointer put Hofstra within 50-48 and she nearly tied it when her layup attempt on the next trip down rimmed out. Jessica Babe gave the Blue Devils a four-point cushion on a second-chance floater.
Onyeuku was a factor at both ends of the floor in the opening half, compiling seven points and seven rebounds to help Hofstra take a 31-29 lead at the break. It marked the sixth time this season the Pride has led at halftime.
Sherrill hit back-to-back layups and Luciano added a three-pointers after creating her own shot for a 10-point edge (23-13) that marked the half’s largest lead. CCSU moved within two on Watras’ jumper with 10 seconds remaining.
The Pride, which entered with the Colonial Athletic Association’s top-ranked three-point defense, held the Blue Devils to 1-for-7 from beyond the arc through the first 20 minutes.
Hofstra will start the 2014 calendar year with a New Year’s Day meeting at home versus Albany at 2 p.m. from the Mack Sports Complex. For ticket information, please call (516) HOF-TIXX or visit GoHofstra.com/tix.