WALTHAM, Mass. – Senior All-America Lauren Battista (North Easton/Oliver Ames HS), All-Region graduate student Courtney Finn (Winthrop/Winthrop HS) and six-foot-one senior Caleigh Crowell (Harwich/Worcester Academy) combined for 52 points and 18 rebounds to power Bentley University, the number one-ranked team in the latest USA TODAY Sports/WBCA Division II coaches poll, to an 80-49 win over The College of Saint Rose in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Wednesday night.
Battista topped the scoring list with 20 points and also provided five rebounds and five assists, and Finn followed with a 19-point, 10-rebound double-double. Crowell matched Finn's three trifectas and finished with 13 points.
The win boosted the Falcons to 19-0 overall, matching the third best start to a season in program history, and 14-0 in the conference. Saint Rose, which trailed after a Battista broke a 2-2 tie 2:15 into the game, dropped to 9-10 overall and 4-9 NE-10.
An early 16-3 run put Bentley firmly in control, 18-5, as Saint Rose had eight turnovers and an 18 percent shooting percentage nine-and-a-half minutes into the game. That early surge saw Crowell score eight unanswered at one stretch, including a pair of triples from the right wing.
Bentley's lead hit 32-11 on a Finn three-ball from the left wing with 6:22 in the opening half and the Falcons went into the break up 24 at 42-18. At that juncture, the home team had taken ten more shots and made ten more.
Three minutes into the second, the differential stood at 32, 50-18, as Bentley scored the first eight points of the second, including another Crowell trey. The lead hit a game-high 37 when freshman forward Jen Gemma (Milton/Fontbonne Academy) scored with 7:45 left to make it 72-35.
The only double-figure scorer for Saint Rose was six-foot-three junior Jess DiNocola (Massapequa, N.Y.), with 13 off the bench.
Bentley outshot the visitors 48-35 percent and committed only ten turnovers, nine fewer than the Golden Knights, a differential that produced a 22-8 advantage in points off. The Falcons also had a 7-3 edge in three-pointers and made seven more free throws, finishing 11 of 16 as compared to Saint Rose's 4 of 6.
The win was the 950th all-time for Bentley with the Falcons just the sixth NCAA institution, and first non-Division I, to achieve that many in women's basketball. In addition, coach Barbara Stevens, with her 901st career victory, moved past former Texas coach Jody Conradt into fifth on the all-time win list.
Bentley is on the road for its next two, playing at Pace University Saturday and at Assumption College next Wednesday.