WALTHAM, Mass. – After stretching its current win streak to six in a rare Dana Center appearance, the Bentley University women's basketball team will be back on the road twice this week as it looks to gain career wins 998 and 999 for coach Barbara Stevens.
First up for the nation's seventh-ranked Division II team will be the American International College Yellow Jackets Wednesday at 5:30 pm at Butova Gym in Springfield. The Falcons will also be at New Haven Saturday afternoon for their sixth road contest in a span of seven games. Links for webcasts for both will be posted at www.bentleyfalcons.tv.
Bentley will head into the AIC game with records of 14-1 overall and 8-1 in the Northeast-10 following a 76-65 win over Saint Rose Saturday. The Golden Knights gave the Falcons a battle, closing to within four points with under six minutes to play before Stevens' club regained control with an 8-2 run.
AIC, after an unexpected 1-6 start to the season, has squared its overall record at 8-8 after winning seven of its last nine, including a 62-44 road victory at Saint Michael's Saturday. That was just the second NE10 win for the Yellow Jackets, who are tied for sixth in the seven-team Southwest Division.
Stevens has frequently gone deep into her roster this season with 11 players averaging at least a dozen minutes and only two playing at least 22 minutes. Grad student and guard Becca Musgrove (Plainview, N.Y./St. Anthony's HS) tops the list at 26.3 minutes and senior guard Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward School) follows at about 25.
Musgrove, with an 11.5 scoring average, is one of three providing between 11 and 13.8 points a game, and Smith is one of five with averages between five and eight points. Those two lead the Falcons in steals and assists with Musgrove having 33 takeaways, three more than Smith, and Smith providing 3.6 assists a game.
Senior guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS) has moved to third in the NE10 in three-point accuracy (.430) after knocking down 11 of 21 in her last three games. The 11.1 per game scorer will head to AIC 13 points shy of 1,200 for her career.
Bentley's leading scorer is junior center Victoria Lux (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy), with averages of 13.8 points and 9.7 rebounds. Sophomore forward Monica Viapiano (Holden/Holy Name HS) has also developed into a solid scorer, averaging nearly eight a game while playing only 13.6 minutes.
The Falcon post players will be challenged on Wednesday by six-foot-one Dana Watts, the only player in the conference putting up over 20 a game. She's averaging 21.2 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 0.9 blocks with her resume including ten double-doubles.
Junior guard Alyssa Guyon follows Watts on the AIC scoring list at 13 points a game, along with 7.3 rebounds.
Bentley continues to lead the NE10 in both points scored (79.1) and fewest points allowed (56.3) with its 22.8 scoring margin ranking ninth nationally in Division II. AIC is ninth in the conference in scoring and 11th in defense, but has held its opponent under 50 points and to 29 percent in its last three wins.
Saturday's opponent, New Haven, enters tonight's game at St. Michael's with records of 6-7 overall and 2-6 NE10.