WORCESTER, Mass. – Down 15 after the opening quarter, the Bentley University Falcons gave up only 27 points the rest of the way and held on for a 57-51 win over Assumption College in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Saturday afternoon at the Dana Center.
Senior guard Amy McConnell (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor HS) led the Falcons with 14 points and six assists, and senior center Victoria Lux (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy) followed with 13 points and eight rebounds.
Bentley, ranked 15th in the WBCA Division II coaches' poll, improved to 21-2 overall and 15-1 NE10 with its eighth straight victory. Coupled with Saint Anselm's loss to Merrimack, the Falcons extended their lead in the conference's Northeast Division to four games with five to play. Assumption, once 10-4, dipped under .500 (11-12, 6-10 NE10) with its eighth loss in its last nine contests.
After a dismal first quarter that saw Bentley held without a two-point basket, the Falcons came alive in the second, cutting a 15-point deficit to four at the break, 30-26. Assumption, after shooting 60 percent in the opening stanza with five three-pointers, was limited to only two baskets in 12 attempts and forced into five turnovers.
Bentley's comeback included an 11-3 run over the final four minutes. Lux had three inside baskets, McConnell dropped in her second triple of the game and sophomore guard Katie Meriggioli (Waunakee, Wis./ Edgewood HS) made two from the line.
The Falcons continued to control play in the third, outscoring the Greyhounds 23-10 to take a 49-40 lead into the fourth. Bentley made nine of 13 in the quarter, including four treys in as many attempts, and gave up only two field goals for the second straight quarter.
In the third, Bentley started with an 8-2 run and closed with a 10-2 burst. Lux scored six and took a charge and senior forward Megan Lewis (Sevenoaks, England) buried a pair of three-pointers.
The visitors managed only three points in the first nine-plus minutes of the fourth, allowing Assumption to climb within three points, 52-49.
Lewis came up with a steal with about 40 seconds left and made two free throws about seven seconds later. After two Assumption makes from the charity stripe, McConnell locked up the outcome by sinking three of four free throws in the final 25 seconds.
McConnell, in addition to 10 points and six helpers, provided five rebounds and three steals during her 39 minutes on the court.
Bentley also received eight points apiece from Lewis and junior guard Maddy Springfield (Jaffrey, N.H./ Conant HS). Both drained a pair of threes and Springfield helped on the boards with seven rebounds.
Assumption was led by sophomore guard Meghan Cramb (New Boston, N.H.) with 18 points, five rebounds and four triples in six attempts.
Both teams made eight three-pointers and Bentley shot slightly better, 35-32 percent. Rebounds favored the Falcons, 37-31, including 13-6 at the offensive end, and the visitors had four fewer turnovers than Assumption, which lost it 23 times.
Bentley is home for two games next week, beginning Wednesday against Southern New Hampshire.