WALTHAM, Mass. – Junior All-Conference post Jen Gemma (Milton/Fontbonne Academy) powered her way to 23 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, and 12 rebounds as Bentley University, the 24th-ranked team in Division II, completed a 6-1 month of November with a 71-55 non-conference win over NYIT in women's basketball action at the Dana Center Monday night.
It was the Falcons' fourth game this season in which they scored the game's opening bucket and maintained the lead the rest of the way.
Achieving that in this one wasn't easy as NYIT (5-5) took advantage of a four-point third quarter by the Falcons to get within three twice in the opening 75 seconds of the fourth, 45-42 and again at 48-45.
Gemma, who moved within six points of the 1,000-point milestone and did her damage in only 24 minutes, took charge from there, scoring the game's next five points. The six-footer scored inside off an assist from freshman guard Amy McConnell (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor HS) and followed with a straightaway three to restore the Falcon advantage to eight, 53-45, with 7:53 left.
Following a pair of NYIT free throws, McConnell drilled a triple from roughly the same spot to make it 56-47 with 7:26 left.
On top 58-51 as the clock dipped under six minutes, the Falcons ran off the next six, including two from the line by Gemma, as part of a closing 13-4 burst.
A pair of Gemma lay-ups launched a 15-8 Bentley run over the game's first 7:38. She had a total of six during that opening salvo, freshman forward Victoria Lux (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy) added four and sophomore guard Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward School) came off the bench for half of her season-best ten points.
Bentley used an 8-0 spurt around the quarter break to extend the difference to ten at 25-15 and eventually was up by as many as 14 in a first half that ended at 41-30. The eight in a row included three-balls from sophomore Trevena Bennett (Union, N.J./Gill St. Bernard's HS) and freshman guard Megan Lewis (Sevenoaks, England).
The second half included both Bentley's lowest scoring quarter of the season (Falcons were just 2 for 15 from the field in the third) and the highest scoring one, a 26-point fourth on 9-of-13 accuracy with four triples.
Sophomore guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS) joined Gemma and Macchi Smith in doubles, with 12 points to go along with her three rebounds. Lux (9 boards, 6 points, 5 assists) and Lewis (5 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals) both filled the stat sheet in multiple categories.
NYIT received 14 points apiece from junior forward Shannon Duer (Islip, N.Y.) and junior guard Julie Williams (Smithtown, N.Y.), although Duer, the East Region's top rebounder at 12.4, was limited to eight.
Bentley continued its strong performance on the glass, outrebounding the visitors by 21, 49-28. The Falcons outshot the Bears 44-34 percent but saw NYIT take 16 more free throws and make 10 more, 14-4.
Bentley will resume its four-game homestand with a 1:30 Saturday game against Southern New Hampshire.