NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Sophomore guard Maria Weselyj (Marlborough, Conn.) broke the game's ninth tie with a three-ball from the right side with 7.4 seconds left, lifting Southern Connecticut State to a 65-62 come-from-behind win over Bentley University in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Saturday afternoon at the Moore Field House.
Weselyj's second triple of the game capped a game-ending 16-4 run for the Owls, who improved to 9-7 overall and 6-2 in the NE-10. Bentley, which held a 58-49 lead with 4:43 left, dropped its third straight to fall to 7-8 overall and 2-7 in the conference.
Junior forward Jen Gemma (Milton, Mass./Fontbonne Academy) led Bentley with 17 points and sophomore forward Brittany Gregory (Fishkill, N.Y./John Jay HS) turned in a strong effort off the bench, with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Bentley used a 9-1 run to open a game-high nine-point lead, 58-49, with 4:43 left. Gregory scored the first four with a second-chance basket and a fast-break lay-up, freshman Kristin Brown (Poulsbo, Wash./North Kitsap HS) drove to the basket for two, and after a Southern free throw, freshman Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS) made a lay-up.
It would be nearly four minutes before Bentley scored again with the Owls running off 13 unanswered to open a four-point lead, 62-58 with 1:02 on the clock. Junior forward Danielle Powell (Middletown, N.Y.) had seven of the 13 and Weselyj had five, including three from the line when she was fouled attempting a trey.
Bentley freshman Cassie Smith (Edison, N.J./Metuchen HS) ended the scoring drought with a three from the left side with 46.5 seconds left. Senior guard Kelsey Mattice (Cicero, N.Y./Cicero North Syracuse HS) came up with a steal and Gemma made one of two free throws with 0:35.6 showing, making it 62-all. Powell rebounded the miss, setting up the winning possession for the Owls.
After Weselyj's three and a timeout, Green attempted a tying three but it was off the mark. It appeared she thought she was fouled in Southern's attempt to prevent the three, so she threw the ball towards the basket, but nothing was called.
The first half ended with the two teams locked in a 27-all tie after both struggled offensively most of the time. Bentley shot just 33 percent and committed ten turnovers while the Owls went to the locker room with a .294 field goal percentage and seven turns.
Bentley used a 13-2 run over a span of 6:50 to open a 25-19 lead with three minutes left until intermission. Gregory and freshman Trevena Bennett (Union, N.J./Gill St. Bernard School) each netted four points during that surge.
Southern countered with an 8-2 spurt to create the fifth tie of the first half, a run that included three-pointers from junior Nicole Grossbard (Pearl River, N.Y.) and Weselyj.
Sophomore forward Taylor McLaughlin (Colchester, Conn.) and Weselyj led Southern in scoring with the two combining for 28 off the bench. McLaughlin had 15 points, five rebounds and two blocks and Weselyj finished with 13 in 14 minutes. Powell's line included nine points, eight boards and six blocks.
Gemma (5 rebounds) and Gregory were followed on the Bentley scoring list by Mattice and Smith, each with seven points.
Both teams shot just over 35 percent with Southern doubling the Falcons from deep, 6-3, and Bentley making two more free throws, 13-11. Rebounds went in the visitors' favor, 49-43, but the Falcons had three more turns, 20-17.
Bentley will be back on the road Wednesday for a 5:30 game at nationally-ranked and 14-1 Adelphi University.