February 7, 2012

Bentley Women Move Up to #7, Seek 20th Win Wednesday Night at St. Michael’s

WALTHAM, Mass. – Reaching the 20-win barrier is a notable achievement for any college basketball team.  Wednesday, at St. Michael's College, the Bentley University women's basketball team will be attempting to reach that plateau for the 27th time in the last 29 years!

Tipoff for the matchup between the Northeast-10 Conference-leading Falcons and the host Purple Knights is set for 5:30 pm at the Ross Sports Center.

Bentley, which moved from ninth to seventh in this week's USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Division II national coaches poll, improved to 19-3 overall and took sole possession of first place in the NE-10 on Saturday. The Falcons outscored Saint Anselm 38-17 during the second half to prevail 63-45, and at the same time, former co-leader Southern Connecticut State had its 16-game winning streak halted by Saint Rose.

St. Michael's had a three-game winning streak snapped by Franklin Pierce Saturday and is currently tied for ninth in the NE-10, with records of 7-10 conference and 10-11 overall.

The Bentley offense features Capital One Academic All-America candidate Lauren Battista (North Easton/Oliver Ames), whose 17.8 scoring average is the third best in the NE-10 and has not been exceeded by a Falcon since Kelly Barker put up 18.1 11 years ago. She's been even better away from Waltham, averaging 19.2 points and 7.8 boards in 13 contests.

Another Falcon in the midst of a solid season is junior guard Courtney Finn (Winthrop/ Winthrop HS), the team leader in both offensive rebounds (61) and three-pointers (31).  Over the last ten games, half of which have been played without All-Conference sophomore forward Jacqui Brugliera (Fitchburg/Wachusett Reg. HS), she's been Bentley's top rebounder (7.4 average) and has scored nearly 12 points a game.

Junior forward Caleigh Crowell (Harwich/Worcester Academy), who has started the last five in Brugliera's absence, has been sizzling from three.  She made only one of her first 10 from outside this season, but over the last month, has knocked down 16 of 31 triples, a performance that has lifted her to sixth in the conference (.415).

Off the bench, junior guard and co-captain Kelsey Roberson (Arlington/Arlington Catholic HS) has been a steady contributor. The last eight games have seen her provide 7.5 points, 2.6 rebounds and four assists with an assist-turnover ratio of better than 3-1.

Bentley tops the Northeast-10 in scoring at 73.1 points a game but will be hard-pressed to match that at St. Michael's. The Purple Knights limit their opponents to 57 a game and have not allowed more than 63 at home this season. They've been more vulnerable on the road, giving up 70+ three times, including Saturday in a 29-point loss to Franklin Pierce.

Senior guard Coreen Hennessy and junior forward Nicole Adach are the team's top scorers, with both averaging about 13 points a game. Hennessy has hit 22 three-balls this season, and Adach is the squad's best rebounder at 7.2 a game.

In the earlier meeting this season, the Falcons had a slight edge in most statistical categories en route to a 75-66 victory. Battista led four double-figure scorers with 14 points, Brugliera had a double-double and Roberson netted a season-best 12 points.

That win boosted Bentley's lead in the all-time series to 53-2, with 10 straight victories since St Michael's swept the season series in 2005-06.

Bentley will also be on the road Saturday with a 1:30 pm contest at Southern New Hampshire. 

USA TODAY ESPN DIVISION II TOP 25 COACHES' POLL

February 7, 2012

USA TODAY ESPN Division II Top 25 women's basketball poll, with first-place votes to the right, total points based on 25 points for first place through one point for 25th.

Rank

Institution - First Place Votes

Prev

Record

Points

1

University of California - San Diego -30

1

22-0

750

2

Edinboro University (Pa.)

2

20-0

714

3

Wayne State College (Neb.)

4

21-2

650

4

Clayton State University (Ga.)

5

20-2

616

5

Ashland University (Ohio)

6

20-1

611

6

Fort Lewis College (Colo.)

7

18-2

575

7

Bentley University (Mass.)

9

19-3

530

8

Metropolitan State College of Denver (Colo.)

3

19-2

527

9

Washburn University (Kan.)

11

20-3

509

10

Pittsburg State University (Kan.)

12

20-2

463

11

Rollins College (Fla.)

14

17-3

381

12

University of Alaska - Anchorage

8

20-4

371

13

Arkansas Tech University

13

15-3

359

14

Northeastern State University (Okla.)

10

19-3

357

15

University of South Carolina - Aiken

16

17-3

346

16

Grand Canyon University (Ariz.)

15

17-2

345

17

Lander University (S.C.)

19

17-3

299

18

Gannon University (Pa.)

20

17-3

261

19

University of Wisconsin - Parkside

24

17-4

191

20

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

17

17-3

157

21

Emporia State University (Kan.)

22

15-5

105

22

California Poly - Pomona

NR

15-5

85

23

University of District of Columbia

NR

17-3

61

24

Johnson C Smith University (N.C.)

NR

16-4

60

25

Ferris State University (Mich.)

NR

15-4

53

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