WALTHAM, Mass. – Junior forward Monica Viapiano (Holden/Holy Name HS) matched her career-high with 21 points and junior guard Maddy Springfield (Jaffrey, N.H./Conant HS) scored a career-best 15 points as Bentley University dominated the first 15 minutes of the second half and finished with a 71-59 win over Pace University in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Saturday afternoon on the Dana Center's Barbara Stevens Court.
Bentley, ranked 17th in the latest WBCA Division II coaches' poll, improved to 19-2 overall and 13-1 in the NE10, good for a three-game lead over Saint Anselm and Stonehill. Pace, after its fourth straight loss, left the court 5-9 conference and 9-14 overall.
After four lead changes and five ties in an opening quarter that ended at 19-19, Bentley started the second with a 8-2 spurt, with six of the eight coming at the foul line. Viapiano scored three of the eight and the Falcons never gave up the lead the rest of the way.
A three-point play by Pace sophomore forward Laura Schetter (Beacon, N.Y.) opened the second-half scoring, making it a four-point game. Springfield answered with a three from the right side and Bentley went on to outscore the visitors 23-10 the rest of the third to open a 62-42 lead.
The Falcons shot 61 percent in the quarter, including 4-for-8 from downtown, and six different players scored provided scoring in the period. Springfield had seven points, Viapiano six and sophomore guard Katie Meriggioli (Waunakee, Wis./Edgewood HS) five.
The run grew to 29-10 and the lead peaked at 26, 68-42, when the Falcons opened the fourth-quarter scoring with lay-ups from junior guard Julia Ford (Charlton/Noble and Greenough), Meriggioli and Viapiano.
Pace finished the game with a 17-3 run but by that time, the Falcons' sixth consecutive win had been secured.
Viapiano made 10 of 14 shots, all coming inside, and also had four rebounds and a block. Springfield was five of seven from the floor with a pair of threes, and also had eight rebounds, two assists and two steals. Meriggioli added nine points, senior guard Amy McConnell (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor HS) finished with eight assists and Ford had four of the team's eight steals.
Bentley also received a boost from senior forward Megan Lewis (Sevenoaks, England), who was playing her first game in more than seven weeks. In 10:24, she scored seven points and had both a block and a steal.
Junior guard Jackie DelliSanti (Commack, N.Y.) led Pace with 19 points.
Bentley outshot the Setters 51-44 percent, made seven of the game's eight three-pointers and outrebounded the visitors by 11, 35-24.
Bentley will be back on Stevens Court Wednesday for a 5:35 pm game against Stonehill. That contest will be webcast as part of the NCAA Division II Showcase and will air on a tape-delay basis on NBC Sports Boston at 8 pm.