Battista Pours in 25 as No. 1 Bentley Wins 10th, 86-66 over Franklin Pierce

Jacqui Brugliera (32) & Lauren Battista
Jacqui Brugliera (32) & Lauren Battista

WALTHAM, Mass. – Senior All-America forward Lauren Battista (North Easton, Mass. /Oliver Ames HS) poured in a season-high 25 points and classmate Jacqui Brugliera (Fitchburg, Mass./ Wachusett Reg. HS) followed with 17, also a season-best, as Bentley University, the number one-ranked team in the USA TODAY Sports/WBCA Division II poll, made it 10-0 with an 86-66 win over Franklin Pierce University in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Tuesday night at the FPU Field House.

This marks the seventh time in program history, and the second straight season, that the Falcons have sported a perfect record ten games into the season. Bentley, guilty of only four turnovers all night, improved to 7-0 in the NE-10 and now leads the conference's Northeast Division by two games in the loss column.

Bentley went into the intermission up six at 38-32, a score that did not change over the final 4:20 after both teams shot well most of the half. The Falcons misfired on their final 10 shots after hitting 61 percent over the first 15-plus minutes and the Ravens finished at .500 with only three shot attempts and five possessions in the final four minutes.

Battista, who moved past Tracie Seymour '92 into sixth on Bentley's all-time scoring list with 1,672 points, hit her first four shots for the Falcons and finished the opening stanza with 11 points, four rebounds and four assists in 17 turnover-free minutes.

Franklin Pierce's dry spell continued into the second half, with only one basket in the first four minutes and the Falcons took advantage to stretch the advantage to 13, 48-35. That spurt included a three-pointer from freshman forward Jen Gemma (Milton, Mass./Fontbonne Academy) after she blocked a shot at the other end, and four points by Battista.

A 16-5 burst later in the half broke the game open, producing a commanding 74-50 lead with 7:42 left. Brugliera ignited the flurry with six points and a steal in a span of just 22 seconds. Seven of the next ten by Bentley were scored by grad student Courtney Finn (Winthrop, Mass./Winthrop HS), including a fast-break lay-up to account for the game's biggest lead at 24.

Battista's impressive night saw her make 11 of 21 shots overall, sink all five of her free throw attempts and also contribute nine rebounds, five assists, a steal and a block.

Brugliera and Finn both eclipsed the 1200-point milestone during the game. Brugliera made 7 of 11 from the field with a pair of three-balls, and Finn overcame early foul trouble to finish with 12 points. Bentley also received a dozen points, matching her career-best, and eight rebounds off the bench from Gemma.

Senior point guard Christiana Bakolas (Manchester, N.H./Central HS) also had a strong game for the Falcons with eight assists, six rebounds, six points, three steals and only one giveaway in 36 minutes.

Senior guard Brittany Martelle (Brookfield, Conn.) led Franklin Pierce with 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, and the Ravens also received 17 points from NE-10 scoring leader Kara Charette (Fairhaven, Mass.), four below her season norm.

Franklin Pierce (4-6, 3-4 NE-10) had the higher field goal percentage (47-43), but Bentley was a plus-11 on the boards and turned 18 Raven turnovers in 22 points. The Falcons doubled the home team in the paint, 52-26, and finished with a dominating 23-6 advantage in points in the paint.

Bentley's next game is a week from Saturday, Dec. 21, at LIU Post.