WALTHAM, Mass. – Down five entering the final period, the Bentley University Falcons outscored Pace University 22-9 in the fourth quarter to record a 70-62 win in the Northeast-10 Conference Women's Basketball Quarterfinals and advance to the semifinals for the 34th time in 37 years.
The Falcons, who reached the 25-win threshold for the 24th time in program history, will take a 25-3 record into Thursday's semifinal game at Southern Connecticut State. The Owls, the number one seed out of the Southwest Division, advanced with a 75-64 win over Southern New Hampshire.
Bentley, ranked 13th in the latest WBCA Division II coaches poll, placed four in double figures with senior guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS) and junior center Victoria Lux (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy) topping the list with 15 points apiece. Graduate guard Becca Musgrove (Plainview, N.Y./St. Anthony's HS) followed with 14 and junior forward Megan Lewis (Sevenoaks, England) added a dozen.
Following an opening 11-plus minutes that included five lead changes and four ties, it was a streaky game with both teams taking turns controlling play. Pace, the third seed out of the Southwest, ran off 12 unanswered in the second quarter to open a 28-17 lead with five minutes left until the half. Sophomore forward Jackie DelliSanti (Commack, N.Y.) scored four of the 12 during that surge.
The final five minutes of the second and the first five minutes of the third belonged to the Falcons with the Northeast Division's second seed embarking on a 26-6 run to turn an 11-point deficit into a nine point lead, 43-34.
Two three-pointers by Lewis launched a 14-2 burst to finish the first half and send Bentley into the break up one, 31-30. She had eight of the first 10, Green buried a triple from the top of the key and senior guard Trevena Bennett (Union, N.J./Gill St. Bernard School) broke a 30-all tie by making one of two free throws.
After Pace briefly took the lead early in the third, Bentley picked up on the momentum from the end of the second, using a 12-2 run to go up nine. Green had half of the points with a three from the right corner and a three-point play the traditional way.
The final five minutes of the third belonged to Pace with the Setters outscoring the Falcons 19-5 to go back in front, this time 53-48. Junior guard Alexandra Monteleone (Cold Spring, N.Y.) and freshman forward Lauren Schetter (Beacon, N.Y.) were responsible for all the points during that stretch, with 11 and eight, respectively.
Monteleone extended her team's lead to seven with a fast-break lay-up to open the fourth quarter scoring. Bentley countered with a 14-1 burst to reclaim the lead at 62-56 with 3:33 left. Green had six of the 14 and senior guard Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward School) scored four.
After a ten-footer by Schetter brought Pace within four with 2:18 to play, Lux pushed it back to six with a second-chance basket with 1:42 to play and made it a three-possession game, 67-60, with a free throw ten seconds later. Two free throws by Bennett and one by Musgrove in the final 30 seconds locked up the victory.
Lux complemented her 15 points with 11 rebounds and three blocks. Musgrove's line included five rebounds, three assists a block and a steal, and Lewis helped on the boards with eight.
Montelelone led Pace with 20 points and Schetter added 15, along with seven rebounds, off the bench.
Bentley outshot the visitors 42-40 percent and finished with one more three-pointer (5-4) and three more free throws (15-12). Rebounds (37-37) and turnovers (11-11) were even and points in the paint favored the Falcons, 40-30.
Bentley and Southern Connecticut met once during the regular season with the Falcons prevailing 64-48 at home on Jan. 20.