COLCHESTER, Vt. – Senior forward Maggie Sabine (Litchfield, Maine) and junior guard Makenzie Burud (Red Hook, N.Y.) each scored 17 points as St. Michael's College claimed control early and went on to record a 69-57 win over Bentley University in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Saturday afternoon at the Ross Sports Center.
Freshman guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS) carried the scoring load for Bentley, sinking five of eight three-pointers en route to a career-high 21 points. All but three of her points came following the halftime break.
A first half that saw the Falcons not hit a field goal from closer than 19 feet over the final 15 minutes ended with St. Michael's owning a 37-22 lead. Bentley made only 4 of 13 two-point attempts and committed 13 turnovers during the opening stanza.
On the other hand, Burud had the hot hand for the Purple Knights during that time frame, making six of seven shots for 13 points while also providing four rebounds and three steals.
Bentley jumped out to a 7-6 lead following a drive from freshman point guard Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward School) with 15:35 left, but managed only three baskets over the next 12-plus minutes. That allowed a 27-8 SMC run as the Falcons fell behind by 18, 33-15.
After six straight points by Sabine extended the Purple Knight lead to a game-high 19 (46-27 with 15:51 left), Bentley showed signs of getting back into the contest. Green knocked down two from deep and senior forward Carlene Kluge (Reading, Mass./Reading HS) hit a lay-up, reducing the differential to 11 with 14 minutes to play.
A 6-0 run that included four by Green brought the defending NCAA Division II national champions within nine, 54-45, with 5:09 left, but St. Michael's countered with a three from junior forward Megan Gaudreau (Brooklyn, Conn.) to push it back to 12. That began a 9-4 charge that gave the home team a 14-point advantage, 63-49, with 2:42 left.
Three-balls by Green and Smith made it an eight-point game with 1:11 to play, but Bentley was unable to get any closer.
Other than Green, Smith was the only Falcon to score in doubles as she finished with 12 points, three rebounds and two assists. Sophomore forward Jen Gemma (Milton, Mass./Fontbonne Academy), Bentley's top scorer for the season, was held to just 1 of 11 from the field after making 20 of 28 in her previous two games. She finished with four points and 11 rebounds. Kluge (5 points) also helped out on the boards with eight.
Burud, in addition to 17 points, amassed 12 rebounds, five assists and three steals. Sabine also filled the stat sheet in more categories than just points, complementing her 17 with five rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Bentley was dominated in the paint, 42-14, with many of those St. Michael's points coming on lay-ups after steals. The Falcons, whose 21 turnovers led to 19 SMC points, shot 38 percent, including only 10 of 31 inside the arc, and were 9 of 19 from downtown. The Purple Knights shot 46 percent and controlled the boards, 37-31.
Bentley, following its second straight loss, fell to 4-4 overall (1-4 NE-10). The Falcons will be back at home for their next two, beginning Tuesday night against Franklin Pierce University.