WALTHAM, Mass. – Off to a 7-2 start, the Bentley University women's basketball team will play its final Northeast-10 Conference game until the new year when its visits St. Michael's College on Saturday. Game time is slated for 1:30 pm with a free webcast available at www.smcathletics.tv.
The Falcons, coming off a 60-46 shutdown of Saint Anselm, is 3-2 in conference play and 3-1 on the road so far this season. They'll be facing a Purple Knight team that will be playing for the first time since winning at Stonehill last Saturday, 79-73. That was the first NE-10 win of the season for St. Michael's, which is 3-5 overall.
Saturday's game will be the 1200th as a head coach for Bentley's Barbara Stevens as she becomes only the third active women's basketball coach to reach that plateau, joining North Carolina's Sylvia Hatchell and Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer. Stevens, in her 30th year with the Falcons and 39th overall as a head coach, ranks fifth all-time in wins with 935.
Junior forward Jen Gemma (Milton/Fontbonne Academy), the newest member of Bentley's 1,000-point club, leads the Northeast-10 in scoring (20.0 ppg) while also providing the Falcons with 10.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists. She's had five double-doubles, including 25 points and 20 rebounds a week ago against Southern New Hampshire.
Next on the scoring list for the Falcons is sophomore guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./ Damascus HS), the only NE-10 player shooting at least 50 percent from deep and making at least two three-pointers a game. Green has scored in doubles in four of the team's last six games with her average 10.4 points.
Six other Falcons have scored in doubles at least once so far this season with that group having grown by one during Monday's Saint Anselm game. In that one, freshman forward Victoria Lux (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy) scored a dozen points on five-of-seven shooting. That bumped her scoring average to 5.2, and she's also second on the team in rebounding (6.0) and third in assists (2.1).
Sophomore guard Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward School) has been seeing increasing time as the season has progressed. Slowed during the preseason as she continued to rehab from the knee injury that prematurely ended her rookie year, she's averaged 6.8 points and shot 67 percent since Thanksgiving.
St. Michael's guard Makenzie Burud has had a strong start to her senior season as she leads the Purple Knights in rebounds (10.4), steals (15) and free throw percentage (.852) while also averaging 13.1 points and 2.0 assists. She's the number three offensive rebounder in the conference and only Gemma has grabbed more at the defensive end.
Also in doubles for the Knights are sophomore guard Leah Spencer, the team's leading scorer at 13.9, and junior guard Indira Evora (11.5). Senior forward Megan Gaudreau is St. Michael's premier three-point threat, with 19 made and a .380 success rate from downtown.
The St.Michael's offense has picked up over the last four with the Purple Knights averaging 72.8 over that stretch, as compared to 54.6 before. They've made 22 of 52 threes (.423) during the last three games after connecting at just a 25 percent clip to start the season.
Bentley will also be on the road next weekend for a Sunday matinee at LIU Post.