WALTHAM, Mass. – Senior guard Courtney Finn (Winthrop/Winthrop HS) led five players in double-figures with 21 points and 10 rebounds, and the Falcons also received 18 apiece from junior All-America Lauren Battista (North Easton/Oliver Ames HS) and senior guard Kelsey Roberson (Arlington/ Arlington Catholic HS) as Bentley University, the number three-ranked team in Division II, reached the 25-win mark for the third straight year and 20th time in the last 30 seasons with a 100-70 win over UMass-Lowell Tuesday night at the Dana Center.
The 30-point victory came despite a career-best 45 points from River Hawk senior guard Bianca Simmons (Middletown, Conn.), the second highest scoring production by a Division II woman this year.
Bentley, which had previously locked up a third straight NE-10 title, finished the regular season at 25-1 overall and 21-1 NE-10. It marked the first time the Falcons reached the century mark since doing so three times during the 2000-01 season.
It was the Falcons' seventh wire-to-wire win of the season, with Bentley never giving up the lead after a three-point play by Finn nearly two minutes into the first half made it a 3-0 game. Following Simmons' first of 17 field goals, the Falcons ran off 10 unanswered, the 27th time this season they've had a run of at least that length.
That 10-0 burst began with two free throws and a baseline jumper by Battista, who had 16 points before she missed her first shot of the night. Roberson and senior forward Caleigh Crowell (Harwich/Worcester Academy) followed with the first two of Bentley's 14 three-pointers, a total that tied the school record set twice during the 2000-01 campaign.
After the River Hawks drew within six at 17-11, Bentley broke the game open by outscoring the visitors 27-10 over the next 9:20 to make it 44-21 with more than three minutes still remaining on the first-half clock.
The score stood at 49-30 at the break with the Falcons shooting a sizzling 63 percent in the first half with eight three-pointers. Simmons scored all but eight of UMass-Lowell's points as she was 8 of 15 and the rest of the squad only 3 of 19.
A string of nine straight Lowell points early in the second, which included five by Simmons, cut the lead to 12 at 51-39.
With the differential still at 12 a couple minutes later, Bentley uncorked a three-point barrage over a span of four minutes to stretch the lead to 20, 64-48, with 13:22 left. Roberson, who tied her career highs for points and three-pointers (6), poured in three during that span and both Crowell and freshman guard Jane White (Amherst, N.H./Souhegan HS) also connected from deep.
With the lead at 80-64 as the clock slipped under eight minutes, Bentley put the game away with a 15-3 blast over the next five minutes to make it 95-67 with 3:49 left. Finn was integral in that spurt, with six points, and the Falcons also received points from four others.
Finn finished 9 of 16 from the field while posting the double-double and also had four assists. Battista made eight of her nine shots, and Roberson's night included 6 of 12 shooting from downtown and four assists.
White drained four threes en route to 14 points and Crowell hit a pair during a ten-point night, with those two a major reason the Falcon bench outscored every Lowell player not named Simmons, 33-25.
Junior guard Christiana Bakolas (Manchester, N.H./Central HS) came close to an assist-rebound double-double, finishing with a career-best 10 assists, eight rebounds and two points. Bentley also received eight points from junior forward Jacqui Brugliera (Fitchburg/Wachusett Reg. HS) and nine rebounds from junior forward Tyler Parker Kimball (New Britain, Conn./New Britain HS).
Simmons finished 17 of 31 from the floor with five three-pointers in eight attempts. She was perfect on six free throw attempts, and also had five offensive rebounds and three steals. No teammate scored more than seven points.
Bentley outshot the River Hawks 56-38 percent, made eight more three-pointers and dominated the boards, 50-32 overall and 32-15 in the second half.
Bentley will be off until Sunday when it will host the winner of Friday night's Adelphi-American International game in an NE-10 quarterfinal game at 3 pm.