EASTON, Mass. – With senior captains Victoria Lux (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy), Megan Lewis (Sevenoaks, England) and Amy McConnell (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor HS) combining for 41 points, the Bentley University Falcons led virtually from start to finish and recorded a 70-54 road win over Stonehill College in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Wednesday evening at Merkert Gymnasium.
Lux finished with 17 points and nine rebounds, both game-highs. Lewis followed with 13 and McConnell scored 11.
Bentley, ranked eighth in both the WBCA and D2SIDA preseason national polls, stayed unbeaten three games into the season. Stonehill, preseason number 19, dropped its home and conference opener after starting the season 2-0.
The Falcons, who limited the Skyhawks to 32 percent shooting overall and only two of 18 from outside the arc, jumped out to a 12-4 start, a run that included the game's only tie (2-2). Lux broke the tie and Lewis converted an old-fashioned three-point play for a 7-2 lead. After a Stonehill basket, the run resumed with a three from the right wing by junior Katie Meriggioli (Waunakee, Wis./Edgewood HS) and a pull-up eight-footer by McConnell resulting in an eight-point lead barely four minutes into the contest.
After Stonehill scored six in a row to close within two, a pair of baskets from junior forward Monica Viapiano (Holden/Wachusett Reg. HS), the second coming on a third-chance opportunity, pushed the lead back to six, 16-10.
Ahead 19-12 after the opening stanza, Bentley gradually built the lead throughout the second. A three from the right corner by junior guard Maddy Springfield (Jaffrey, N.H./Conant HS) and two McConnell free throws made it a 36-23 advantage and the Falcons went into the half up 11, 36-25.
A 7-0 Bentley run early in the third made it a 16-point game, 45-29. That burst included both a lay-up and a top-of-the-key triple by Lewis.
After the Falcon advantage hit 18 three times in the final stanza, Stonehill staged a late comeback, drawing to within ten with a little more than two minutes remaining. That would be as close as the Skyhawks would come, as a McConnell drive and four Falcon free throws in the final 40.2 seconds closed out the game's scoring.
While Stonehill was struggling to make baskets most of the night, the Falcons shot 43 percent and sank six of 15 three-balls. In addition, they also controlled the boards to the tune of 45-34.
Bentley also received another strong effort from Meriggioli, who filled the stat sheet with nine points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Freshman forward Kayla Raymond (Easton) led Stonehill with 12 points.
Bentley will play its fourth straight away from home on Saturday with a 3 pm contest at Queens College.