WALTHAM, Mass. – When freshman forward Marissa Fontaine (Franklin/Bishop Feehan HS) hit her team-leading 19th three-pointer with about seven-and-a-half minutes left on Wednesday, the Bentley University women's basketball team had an 11-point lead and seemed to be on their way to 9-0.
However, the nation's third-ranked Division II team managed only two more baskets the rest of the way and as a result, dropped a 73-68 decision to Southern New Hampshire University.
Coach Barbara Stevens' team will look to get back on track Saturday when they host Saint Anselm College in the final home game of 2017. Game time is 1:30 pm with a free webcast at www.bentleyfalcons.tv.
As a result of getting outscored 22-7 by SNHU in the final stanza, the Falcons will go into Saturday's game in third place in the Northeast-10 Conference's Northeast Division, a half-game back of both Southern New Hampshire and Stonehill, who will face each other Saturday. Bentley's 8-1 overall record includes 4-1 NE10.
Saint Anselm, after a 60-54 victory over St. Michael's Tuesday, is 6-3 overall and 4-2 NE10. All three losses have come on the road, at Stonehill, at Merrimack and in a neutral site game against Caldwell.
The top scorers for the coach Barbara Stevens' Falcons are junior Victoria Lux (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy) and grad student Becca Musgrove (Plainview, N.Y./St. Anthony's HS), with averages of 14.1 and 11.7, respectively. Lux remains one of four players in the conference averaging a double-double and has a .567 field goal percentage since Nov. 14. Musgrove, a Brown transfer, has scored in doubles in six of the last seven games and has asserted herself on the boards of late, with seven against SNHU and six at St. Michael's.
Senior point guard Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward School) has been productive recently, averaging 9.8 points and 4.2 assists in the last five games. She's made four of her last five triples and has zero turns in the last two games, covering 49 minutes.
Fontaine and senior guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS) have been two of the NE10's most accurate shooters from three this season. Fontaine (9.7 ppg) tops the list at .452 and Green (10.9) is fifth at .400. With her three-ball against SNHU, she became only the fourth in program history with at least 200, joining Keri Flynn (2000-04), Beth Biasotti (1992-96) and Lauren Moore (2003-07).
Despite Wednesday's outcome that snapped a 15-game home win streak and knocked the Falcons from the ranks of the unbeaten, Bentley continues to lead the conference in numerous categories, including scoring (82.2), scoring margin (24.8), field goal percentage (.440), three-pointers (9.0), three-point accuracy (.373) and rebound margin (9.6).
Six-foot-four Shannon Ryan, who attended Boston College last year but didn't see any game action, has had a big impact for Saint Anselm so far this season. She's second in the conference in scoring (22.1), rebounding (10.8) and blocks (2.4), and has five double-doubles.
Ryan has accounted for more than a third of the Hawks' scoring with team captain and senior guard Clairee Putnam next on the list at 7.7.
Saint Anselm, under first-year head coach Corey Boilard, will come into the weekend with the NE10's best scoring defense average, 56.2. The Hawks turn the ball over only 14 times a game, matching Bentley for the best in the conference.
Next week, Bentley will face a pair of road games, Tuesday at Merrimack and Sunday at LIU Post.