WALTHAM, Mass. – History was made at the Dana Center Saturday afternoon as Bentley University' Barbara Stevens became only the sixth women's basketball coach in NCAA history to reach the 900-win plateau and Falcon senior All-America Lauren Battista (North Easton/Oliver Ames HS) became the all-time leading scorer in the storied program's history.
The 98-82 Northeast-10 Conference win over Saint Anselm College, Bentley's 18th without a loss this season, lifted Stevens, a 2006 inductee into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, to 900-246 over 37 years, including 743-155 in 28 seasons with the Falcons. She's the third fastest to reach 900, behind only Pat Summitt (Tennessee) and Tara VanDerveer (Stanford).
"This was a tremendous opportunity to reflect on a career that I've been so blessed to have," said Stevens, who was able to reach 900 on the day her program was having its annual alumni day. "It's not about me, but all the tremendous players and assistant coaches we've had."
Battista, a two-time WBCA All-America and Capital One Academic All-America® who now has 1,804 points, entered the game needing 17 points to eclipse Kelly Barker (1,800 from 1997-2001) for the top spot on the list and she got it done in a first half that ended with the nation's number one-ranked Division II team up 22, 58-36.
"Lauren has done everything we've asked, and has done so within the framework of our offensive system," praised Stevens. "She is one of the best we've ever had."
The milestone points came on a turn-around jumper in the paint with 1:06 left on the first-half clock. Battista, who began the day third on Bentley's all-time scoring list, tied number two Alison Fay '84 at 1,792 with a three-point play with 5:55 left. She scored five unanswered in a stretch of 58 seconds to pull within three of Barker with 2:49 til intermission and got within one with a lay-up with 1:27 left, that basket giving the Falcons their first 50-point first-half of the season.
Battista totaled 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting and also provided three assists and two rebounds before exiting the game for good with 10:19 to play and Bentley up 26 at 85-59.
"This was a tremendous accomplishment for Lauren, but she and the rest of the team know they have more to achieve," said Stevens.
Grad student Courtney Finn (Winthrop/Winthrop HS) led Bentley with 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists as she enjoyed an outstanding shooting day, as did most of the Falcons. Finn made seven of eight overall, including four three-pointers, and was perfect on three free throw attempts.
Junior guard Kelsey Mattice (Cicero, N.Y./Cicero North Syracuse HS) added 15 points off the bench, freshman forward Jen Gemma (Milton/Milton HS) helped out with 12 points and six rebounds, and senior forward Jacqui Brugliera (Fitchburg/Wachusett Reg. HS) missed only one shot during a 11-point, six-rebound effort.
Bentley took the lead for good with a 19-6 first-half run that made it a 27-14 game with 9:39 left. Brugliera got things started, hitting a three from the top of the key to break an 8-8 tie and following with a fast-break lay-up.
A 15-8 run over the first four minutes of the second half produced Bentley's biggest lead, 73-44. At that juncture, Stevens' club was shooting a ridiculous 69 percent, 25 of 36, with 10 three-pointers.
In its most productive offensive game of the season, Bentley finished with season-bests in points, points in a half, field goal percentage (.614) and three-point accuracy (.524). Saint Anselm (10-9, 6-8 NE-10) became the first team to exceed 68 points against the Falcon D this season and finished with a .443 field goal percentage.
Freshman guard Candace Andrews (Boston, Mass.) led four double-figure scorers for Saint Anselm, finishing with 20 points before fouling out.
Bentley, 13-0 in conference play, continues to lead the Northeast-10's Northeast Division by four-and-a-half games. The Falcons are back on the Dana Center court Wednesday with a 5:30 pm game against The College of Saint Rose.