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Bentley University Falcons
146 Northeast-10 Championships
80 CoSIDA Academic All-Americas
2014 NCAA Div. II Women's Basketball National Champs
2001 NCAA Div. II Field Hockey National Champs
Women's Basketball: NCAA Record 35 NCAA tournaments

Caira, Battista Lead Balanced Attack as Bentley Rolls Past #7 Franklin Pierce, 90-72; Win #798 for Stevens

Caira, Battista Lead Balanced Attack as Bentley Rolls Past #7 Franklin Pierce, 90-72; Win #798 for Stevens

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Senior forward Elise Caira (Wakefield/Arlington Catholic HS) provided 17 points, seven rebounds and a career-high seven assists, and four teammates joined her in double figures, as Bentley University ran past undefeated and two-time defending Northeast-10 Conference champion Franklin Pierce, 90-72, in NE-10 women's basketball action Saturday afternoon at the Dana Center.

Bentley, the NE-10's preseason favorite, ran its winning streak to five and improved to 5-0 in the conference for the first since 2004-05 while giving coach Barbara Stevens her 798th career victory (tying Stanford's Tara VanDerveer for fifth on the all-time list). Franklin Pierce, which had won 62 of its previous 66 game and entered the game ranked seventh nationally in Division II, fell to 7-1 overall and 4-1 NE-10.

Bentley was in firm control of this one by intermission, using a 56-point first-half explosion to open an 18-point lead. During the opening 20 minutes, the Falcons shot 59 percent, amassed 34 points in the paint and turned 14 Raven giveaways into 18 points.

The opening frame included 11 points from Caira and nine apiece from both freshman forward Lauren Battista (North Easton/Oliver Ames HS) and sophomore guard Courtney Finn (Winthrop/ Winthrop HS). Freshman guard Christiana Bakolas (Manchester, N.H./Central HS) also provided a first-half spark, with seven points and three steals in only seven minutes.

Eight of Caira's came during a 13-3 spurt that extended a three-point lead to 13, 29-16 with barely eight minutes elapsed. The Falcons were sizzling from the field, hitting 67 percent at that juncture.

After Franklin Pierce got within seven, Bentley used a 17-4 explosion to open a 54-34 lead with 2:24 left in the first half.  That burst was launched by consecutive three-pointers by junior Meghan Thomann (Andover/Andover HS), who tied a Falcon single-game record by hitting four of four treys, and freshman forward Jacqui Brugliera (Fitchburg/Wachusett Reg. HS).

Bentley's lead remained in the high teens and low twenties for much of the second-half, but a 10-0 FPU run drew the visitors to within nine, 74-65 with 6:08 left. Stevens' team countered by scoring 15 of the next 17 points, pushing the differential back to 22 at 89-67.

Thomann nailed a pair of threes during that stretch, including one from 25 feet, and All-Conference senior guard Kim Brennan (Locust Valley, N.Y./Locust Valley HS) added five points.

Bentley, which reached the 90-point mark for the first time since February 2004, shot 49 percent overall and buried 11 three-pointers. The Falcons outscored the Ravens 42-30 in the paint, 28-19 off turnovers and 38-24 by the bench.

Battista followed Caira in the scoring column with 15 points on five-of-seven shooting. Thomann provided 12 off the bench, and both Finn (12) and Bakolas (11, along with four assists and three steals) had their highest scoring games as collegians. Brugliera just missed doubles, finishing with nine points.

Franklin Pierce was led by junior center Jewel White (Worcester), with 18 points and six rebounds, and junior forward Marielle Giroud (Martigny, Switzerland), with 15 points and a dozen boards.

Bentley, tied for first in the NE-10 with Assumption and Pace, is back at home on Wednesday for a 5:30 meeting with Stonehill College.

 

At Waltham, Mass. (Dana Center)

BENTLEY 90, FRANKLIN PIERCE 72

FRANKLIN PIERCE (7-1, 4-1 NE-10) -- Jewel White 5-8 8-8 18; Marielle Giroud 6-11 2-3 15; Amanda Saab 5-8 1-2 13; Tiffany Johnson 2-4 3-4 8; Brooke Coderre 2-3 0-0 5; Jordan Grant 2-6 0-0 5; Lekia Cowen 2-5 0-0 4; Kate McDonald 1-4 0-0 2; Brittany Martelle 1-3 0-0 2; Jessica Hurd 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-52 14-17 72.

BENTLEY (5-1, 5-0 NE-10) -- Elise Caira 8-14 1-2 17; Lauren Battista 5-7 5-5 15; Courtney Finn 4-8 1-1 12; Meghan Thomann 4-4 0-0 12; Christiana Bakolas 4-7 3-3 11; Jacqui Brugliera 3-9 1-2 9; Kim Brennan 2-11 0-0 5; Shatasia Kearse 2-2 0-0 4; Katherine Goodwin 1-3 0-0 3; Lauren Massie 1-2 0-1 2; Kelsey Roberson 0-2 0-0 0; Ashley Saia 0-0 0-0 0; Caralyn Hart 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 34-70 11-14 90.

Halftime: B 56-38; 3-point goals--FP 6-19 (Saab 2-3; Johnson 1-3; Giroud 1-3; Grant 1-3; Coderre 1-2; Martelle 0-1; McDonald 0-2; Cowen 0-2), B 11-25 (Thomann 4-4; Finn 3-6; Brugliera 2-3; Goodwin 1-3; Brennan 1-4; Roberson 0-2; Massie 0-1; Bakolas 0-2). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--FP 34 (Giroud 12), B 30 (Caira 7). Assists--FP 13 (Giroud 5), B 24 (Brennan, Caira 7). Total fouls--FP 13, B 15. Technical fouls--None.