SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Junior All-Conference forward Jen Gemma (Milton, Mass./Fontbonne Academy) scored 26 points, including a school-record 17 in the first quarter when she scored all of the Falcons' points, and completed her 12th double-double with 12 rebounds, as Bentley University remained at the top of the Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division standings with a 64-54 win over Le Moyne College Saturday afternoon in women's basketball action at the Ted Grant Court.
Bentley, ranked 13th in the D2SIDA Division II media poll, improved to 15-3 overall and 9-3 in the NE-10 with its ninth win in its last ten games. Le Moyne, which had won six of its previous seven, dropped to 9-9 overall and 6-6 conference.
Gemma, the 20th player in program history to eclipse 1,200 points, scored in a variety of ways with a couple three-pointers, a three-point play the traditional way, lay-ups, put-backs, free throws and an outside jumper.
After the Dolphins opened an 8-5 lead, Gemma closed the first quarter with a personal 12-3 run over the final 5:30. She made a couple free throws before burying a top-of-the-key triple that put the Falcons up 10-8.
Le Moyne regained the lead on a three-ball by freshman guard Madison Purcell (Clifton Park, N.Y.) before being blanked the rest of the quarter. Gemma put the visitors back in front with a put-back, a second three-pointer from straightaway and a lay-up with 2:06 to play that finished the first-quarter scoring and making it Gemma 17, Dolphins 11.
Neither team could get much done offensively in the second, which ended with Bentley on top by three, 26-23. At that juncture, Gemma was six of ten from the floor and the rest of the Falcons were just 3 of 17. Nine turnovers and eight missed free throws played a significant role in keeping Bentley's first half point total down.
Le Moyne briefly regained the lead when senior guard Lauren Salzbrenner (Sheboygan, Wisc.) buried a three with 6:15 to play in the third, making it 30-29. Just 20 seconds later, a Gemma lay-up off an inbound play returned the lead to the Falcons and began an 11-2 spurt that made it 40-32 with 2:52 left in the first half.
Gemma followed her inside basket with a jumper from just inside the line, and the run also included a lay-up from sophomore guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS), a short jumper from junior Melina Kollia (Athens, Greece) and a triple from freshman guard Amy McConnell (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor HS).
After the Dolphins got back within four, Bentley opened the game up with a 13-4 run midway through the fourth, making it 59-46 with 2:27 to play. Five different players scored for Bentley during that stretch, including sophomore guard Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward School) with five.
Gemma had a very good shooting day as she made 9 of 15 overall, two of three from downtown and six of seven at the line.
Smith, with 11 off the bench, was Bentley's other double-figure scorer, and Green helped out with seven.
For Le Moyne, senior guard Vandell Andrade (Cranston, R.I.) led the way with 15 points, eight rebounds and four steals.
With the exception of turnovers, Bentley had the edge in most statistical categories. The Falcons outshot the Dolphins 45-35 percent, made more threes (6-4), sank more free throws (16-27 vs. 8-14) and claimed nine more rebounds, 42-33.
Bentley will be back home for its next two, beginning Wednesday against Saint Rose.