BURLINGTON, Vt. On Thursday morning, UVM women's basketball had the support of more than 1,000 students from across Chittenden County for the annual Catamount Classroom game, which started at 11 a.m. With a season-high 2,013 fans in attendance at Patrick Gym, Vermont defeated Central Connecticut State 62-48 to win its final non-conference home game of the 2017-18 season.
"I am very proud of our team," said UVM head coach Chris Day. "We had a great week of practice and prep for this game. The kids executed the game plan very well and made great plays today. I am so happy that our team can head into Christmas break with a win."
The Patrick Gym crowd was extra loud due to the large number of school children on-hand. The annual Catamount Classroom, presented by Vermont's 529 college savings program and administered by VSAC, invites all local middle and elementary schools to attend the game (free of charge) for a day full of education and basketball.
Vermont snapped a seven-game losing streak with the win, its first since Nov. 17 vs. Howard (when Hanna Crymble posted a career-high 37 points). After scoring 32 against Northeastern on Sunday, Crymble managed just 14 points against Central Connecticut.
Sydney Smith led the way for the Catamounts on Thursday by registering a double-double. She scored 21 points with three three-point field goals, grabbed seven rebounds and distributed two assists. It was Smith's season-high point total in her eighth contest of her senior year.
Off the bench, Candice Wright scored seven points, recorded seven rebounds and tied her season-high with five blocked shots. The all-time UVM shot blocker now has 118 career blocks as she approaches the midway point of her junior campaign.
Central Connecticut was paced offensively by junior Kiana Patterson, who scored 16 points on 4-9 shooting from beyond the arc. Andi Lydon, the Blue Devils' second-leading scorer, was neutralized by the Catamounts. Lydon was one of two Central Connecticut players to foul out and she finished the game with nine points.
The Blue Devils finished their non-conference schedule with an 0-11 record They are now 0-7 on the road entering NEC play.
Vermont won the rebounding battle 49-34. The Catamounts barely outscored the Huskies in the paint (22-20). However, UVM blocked 11 shots as a team, a season-high.
The Catamounts led 29-21 at halftime and never looked back when they returned to the hardwood. UVM's largest lead of the game was 24 points, which happened midway through the fourth quarter.
As a team, Vermont shot 35% from the field, 33% from downtown and 71% at the free throw line. Meanwhile, Central Connecticut went 30% from the floor, 32% from distance and 67% at the line.
Senior point guard Katie Lavelle only scored two points, but she added seven rebounds and five assists. Kristina White contributed with six points, four rebounds and two assists of her own.
Vermont is now 3-9 on the regular season and 3-5 at home. All three of UVM's wins have come by 14 points or more.
The Catamounts return to action after Christmas, next Saturday (Dec. 30), for their second trip in as many months to South Florida. Vermont plays its' final non-conference game at Florida International next Saturday at 1 p.m.
The next home game for UVM is on January 3, when the Catamounts begin America East play at home against UMass-Lowell.
Logan Ratick has the play-by-play call for next Saturday's showdown with Florida International on CatamounTV.com, as well as the flagship station for UVM women's basketball, News/Talk 620 WVMT-AM. Pregame coverage begins at 12:40 p.m., with tip-off set for 1 p.m. from FIU Arena in Miami, Florida.