SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Northeast-10 Conference announced its 2019 inductees into its Hall of Fame Monday night during its annual awards banquet at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the honorees included the 2014 NCAA Division II national championship Bentley University women's basketball team and its star player, Lauren Battista (North Easton).
The 2013-14 season was a remarkable one for coach Barbara Stevens and her team, one that saw the Falcons complete a perfect 35-0 campaign by overcoming deficits of nine with 5:37 left and six with 3:04 to play to dispatch West Texas A&M University, 73-65. That made Bentley only the second NCAA Division II women's basketball program to be undefeated national champions.
The comeback featured two steals four seconds apart by point guard Christiana Bakolas (Manchester, N.H.), two game-tying free throws with 2:47 left by Bakolas, a go-ahead three from Battista with 2:14 remaining and six free throws by Courtney Finn (Winthrop) in the final 41 seconds.
Stevens' usual starting lineup during that incredible season included Battista, Finn, Bakolas, Jacqui Brugliera (Holden, Mass.) and Caleigh Crowell (Harwich). All were seniors or graduate students. Off the bench, the top performers were freshman Jen Gemma (Milton), junior Kelsey Mattice (Cicero, N.Y.), graduate student Chrystal Guarin (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) and senior Tyler Parker Kimball (New Britain, Conn.).
Before wrapping up the championship with the win over West Texas A&M, Bentley posted wins over Drury and Cal Poly Pomona during the Elite Eight, which was held in Erie, Pa.
Battista had a remarkable four-year career for the Falcons with her list of achievements including WBCA Division II National Player of the Year, Division II Capital One Academic All-America of the Year for all sports, Division II Capital One Academic All-America of the Year for women's basketball and the Honda Division II Athlete of the Year.
Battista, on the national championship team, averaged over 17 points, five rebounds and three assists while shooting .575 overall, .417 from three and .819 at the line. The two-time Northeast-10 Player of the Year and three-time Academic All-America finished her career with 2,112 points, a Bentley record at the time, as well as the Falcons' career leader in field goals, field goal attempts, games started and games played.
Battista, the seventh Bentley women's basketball player voted into the NE10 Hall of Fame, and the rest of the 2014 national championship team will be honored during a 2019-20 Falcon home game.