PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – Graduate guard Becca Musgrove (Plainview, N.Y./St. Anthony's HS) filled the stat sheet with a season-high 20 points, six rebounds and four steals, and junior center Victoria Lux (Arrundel, Maine/ Thornton Academy) matched her in the points column, as Bentley University overcame a halftime deficit to best Pace University, 72-66, in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Saturday afternoon at the Goldstein Fitness Center.
Bentley, ranked third nationally in Division II, improved to 19-1 overall (13-1 NE10) and remained even with Stonehill, Wednesday's opponent, at the top of the NE10 Northeast Division standings. Pace fell to .500 in the conference (7-7) and dipped to 10-11 overall.
The Falcons got off to a rough start, making only two of 12 shots an opening quarter that ended with the Setters in front 20-11. Pace jumped out to a 7-0 lead and closed the stanza with an identical run with junior guard Alexandra Monteleone (Cold Springs, N.Y.) scoring 11 in the quarter, matching Bentley's total.
As cold as Bentley's shooting was in the first quarter, it was that hot in the third when he Falcons made 9 of their first 11 shots and finished with a .706 accuracy mark. An 11-6 run out of the gate, a spurt capped by a steal and three-point play by Musgrove, evened the game for the first time, 40-40 with 7:26 left in the third.
After Pace went back up by five, Bentley used an 11-1 run to take its first lead of the game, one that it would never relinquish. A three-pointer by senior guard Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward School), two inside baskets by Lux, a put-back by Lux and a 17-foot step back by Musgrove made it 53-48 Falcons with 2:41 left until the fourth.
Coach Barbara Stevens' team opened the fourth with eight straight points, including three baskets by Lux, to take a 63-52 lead. Pace wasn't finished and they battled back with an 11-3 spurt to make it a one-possession game, 66-63, with three minutes left.
Two Musgrove baskets – one a lay-up off a backcourt steal and the other on a foul line jumper that bounced in – made it 70-65 with 1:32 to play. After Pace made one of two from the charity stripe, Smith closed out the scoring with two free throws with 21.1 seconds showing on the game clock.
Bentley shot 64 percent after intermission, finished at .464 for the game and outrebounded the Setters 36-34. Pace shot 44 percent and made six three-pointers, twice as many as the Falcons.
Free throws played a key role in the contest. The Falcons' 7-for-10 at the line in the opening quarter kept Bentley in the game and they attempted 26 in total, making 17. That was nine more than Pace, which only attempted 12.
Lux rebounded from a 1-for-6 first half to make 8 of 11 shots during the second 20 minutes. She also provided a game-high eight rebounds. Musgrove was 8 of 12 from the floor as well as four of five from the line.
Bentley also received eight points from Macchi Smith, seven from senior guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS) and six points, seven rebounds and four assists from senior forward Cassie Smith (Metuchen, N.J./Edison HS). Off the bench, junior forward Megan Lewis (Sevenoaks, England) provided seven points without missing a shot, six rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Monteleone (9-15 fg, 4-5 ft) led Pace with 23 points, six rebounds and three assists. The Setters also received 14 points off the bench from junior guard Kristina Olikhver.
Bentley returns to action Wednesday when they'll be in North Easton, Mass. to take on Stonehill.