WALTHAM, Mass. – It will be both Senior Day and the program's annual Play4Kay Day Saturday afternoon when the 22-3 Bentley University women's basketball team hosts Merrimack College at noon in the final home game of the regular season. A free webcast will be available at www.bentleyfalcons.tv.
Bentley, ranked 14th in the latest WBCA Division II national coaches poll and 16-3 in Northeast-10 Conference play, will be looking for its 11th win in 12 home games this season. The Merrimack Warriors have won six of their last eight, improving to 14-10 overall and 10-9 conference.
The women's basketball program will be raising funds to support the Kay Yow Fund in its efforts to fight women's cancers. You'll be able to make contributions at the game or you can visit https://pledgeit.org/bentleywomensbasketball for more information.
Prior to the game, a quartet of seniors, all of whom have appeared in more than 100 games in a Bentley uniform, and graduate student Becca Musgrove (Plainview, N.Y./St. Anthony's HS), will be recognized for their contributions. The seniors, all four-year players, are forward Cassie Smith (Edison, N.J./Metuchen HS) and guards Trevena Bennett (Union, N.J./Gill St. Bernard School), Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./ Damascus HS) and Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward School).
Green, twice an All-Northeast-10 honoree, is third in program history in career three-pointers (233) and has started all 118 games she's played in as a collegian. Macchi Smith, a second-team All-Conference selection last year, is number one in program history in career free throw percentage (.835) and third in Division II this season in assist-turnover ratio.
Cassie Smith has started all 25 games this season and is third on the team in rebounds at 4.5 per game. Bennett, a starter in 47 of 107 career games, is averaging 4.7 points a game this season. Musgrove, a Brown transfer who is 53 points away from 1,000 as a collegian, leads Bentley in steals (55) and is second in both scoring average (12.2) and assists (52).
Bentley, number three in the NCAA Division II East Region rankings that were released Wednesday, is coming off a 75-63 win over St. Michael's College. Coach Barbara Stevens' team won every quarter against the Purple Knights while placing four in double figures. Junior center Victoria Lux (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy) recorded her 12th double-double, Musgrove scored a dozen and both Green and Bennett added ten points.
Lux leads the Falcons in both scoring (13.7) and rebounds (9.6) after collecting 15 points and 13 rebounds in only 20 minutes against St. Michael's. It was the second straight game and seventh time this season she's pulled in at least 13 boards.
Musgrove has been playing her most productive basketball of the season in recent weeks, averaging 15.4 points and shooting 59 percent overall since mid-January. In addition, she's had at least one steal in 12 straight games.
Seven other players, including the four seniors who have their sights on a third straight NCAA tournament, provide between 4.5 and 10.1 points a game for the conference's highest scoring team. Green, who has 49 three-pointers, stands at the top of that list.
Merrimack, 6-1 in its previous seven before dropping a 62-51 decision at first-place Stonehill Wednesday, has two of the top freshmen in the conference in Alyssa Casey and Mayson Kimball. They've combined for 10 NE10 Rookie of the Week awards, including eight by Casey, who averages 13.9 points and 6.3 rebounds.
Junior guard Lindsay Werner is the Warriors' top scorer, averaging 15.9 points with 59 three-balls. Six-foot-one sophomore Denia Davis-Stewart, the reigning NE10 Player of the Week, blocks more than five shots a game while also averaging 9.9 points and ten rebounds.
In the earlier meeting between the two, Bentley used double-doubles from Macchi Smith (12 points, 13 rebounds) and Lux (17 and 11) to defeat Merrimack 80-59. Kimball scored 28 on 10-of-15 shooting for the Warriors but the Falcons held her teammates to only 10 baskets in 53 attempts.
Bentley will close out the regular season Tuesday night at Franklin Pierce, and after a first-round bye, will host a Northeast-10 quarterfinal game on Sunday, Feb. 25.