WALTHAM, Mass. – Guard Courtney Finn (Winthrop/Winthrop HS) dropped in 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as Bentley University, the number one ranked team in Division II, improved to 4-0 with an 81-57 win over 16th-ranked Dowling College in non-conference women's basketball Saturday evening at the Dana Center.
It was the home opener for the Falcons, the season opener for the Golden Lions and the first meeting between the two since Dowling edged Bentley in the NCAA Division II East Regional final last March, denying the Falcons a third straight trip to the Elite Eight.
Finn, a graduate student, combined with senior All-America forward Lauren Battista (North Easton/Oliver Ames HS) for 28 first-half points while helping Bentley grab a 42-27 lead. Finn contributed 16 points and seven boards in the opening 20 minutes while Battista scored 12 of her 14 before the break.
Dowling, which lost three starters from last year's squad that reached the national championship game, played the Falcons even through the first 12-plus minutes with the score knotted at 20 apiece.
The rest of the first half belonged to the home team as Bentley closed with a 22-7 run. A fast-break lay-up by Battista made it 28-22, Finn scored seven straight to extend the lead to 13 (39-26) and senior point guard Christiana Bakolas (Manchester, N.H./Central HS) beat the buzzer for a 15-point halftime spread.
Any hopes that Dowling had of a comeback were essentially dashed during the first eight minutes of the second half when the Falcons used a 17-2 explosion to take a commanding 59-32 lead. Senior forward Jacqui Brugliera (Fitchburg/Wachusett Reg. HS) had all six of her points during that time frame and both freshman forward Jen Gemma (Milton/Fontbonne Academy) and sophomore guard Jane White (Amherst, N.H./Souhegan HS) provided four apiece.
Finn, who moved into the top 25 on Bentley's all-time scoring list with 1,118 points, achieved her 20 by shooting seven of 11 from the field, three of six from downtown and three of four from the line. She also gave Bentley three assists and a couple steals.
Battista, who moved past Keri Flynn '04 into ninth in program history (1,573 points), chipped in with seven rebounds and three assists in addition to the 14 points. Gemma was Bentley's third double-figure scorer with 10 points and four boards in 15 minutes off the bench.
Bentley also received eight points from junior guard Kelsey Mattice (Syracuse, N.Y./Cicero North Syracuse HS) and seven from White as the Falcon bench outscored the Dowling reserves 30-4.
Shooting percentages were fairly close (Bentley .462, Dowling .435) but the Falcons had 19 more attempts due to six more offensive rebounds (13-7) and only ten turnovers, nine fewer than Dowling. Bentley also doubled the visitors from three, making ten.
Senior forward Julia Koppl (Innsbrook, Austria) powered Dowling with 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting.
Bentley will be back in action Wednesday when it hosts Assumption College at 5:30 pm.