OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. – Bentley University senior forward Parker Gregory (Fishkill, N.Y./ John Jay HS) posted her first career double-double but the number one-ranked team in the latest WBCA Division II women's basketball coaches' poll suffered its first loss, 72-60 to New York Institute of Technology at the Recreation Hall in non-conference action Saturday afternoon.
After a hot-shooting first quarter that ended with Bentley riding a 23-11 lead, the Falcon offense struggled most of the rest of the way in the first meeting between the two since the 2016 NCAA East Regional final. They shot only 28.6 percent, with the 12 field goals during the final three quarters one more than they had in the first quarter, and turned it over 20 times during the final 36 minutes.
By halftime, a Bentley lead that had peaked at 13 had shriveled to six, 33-27. After scoring 18 in the paint in the first quarter, the Falcons generally settled for threes in the second and made only two of eight from distance. At one point, Bentley went more than seven minutes without netting a single point.
NYIT outscored the Falcons 28-12 in the third quarter and took a 10-point advantage into the fourth, 55-45. The Falcons turned it over eight times in the stanza and that produced a 16-0 advantage in points off turns for the Bears. Senior guard Julie Williams (Smithtown, N.Y.) nearly singlehandedly outscored Bentley in the third with 11 points.
Down by 15 with four minutes left in the game, Bentley came alive with an 8-0 run that made it a seven-point game, 67-60, with 2:24 remaining. Junior guard Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./ Windward School) drained a three from the left wing, sophomore guard Amy McConnell (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor HS) hit an open lay-up following a scramble for the ball, and senior All-America forward Jen Gemma (Milton, Mass./Fontbonne Acad.) knocked down a straight-ahead three.
That would do it for the Bentley scoring and NYIT locked up the victory by making five of eight free throws in the final minute.
Gregory, who entered the game with only ten points in five games, finished with a career-high 16 points on a perfect 7-of-7 from the floor. She also gave the Falcons ten rebounds, three assists and a block.
Gemma was the only other Falcon to score in doubles, finishing with 15, along with five rebounds, two blocks, two steals and two assists. She moved into seventh on Bentley's all-time scoring list with 1,665 points, surpassing Tracie Seymour '92 (1,652).
Junior guard Nina Vukasavljvic (Belgrade, Serbia), who entered the game with a .279 field goal percentage, led the 5-2 Bears with 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting with two threes. Williams also had a solid outing with 18 points.
NYIT outshot Bentley 42-39 percent and finished with a 36-30 advantage in paint points, including 32-12 after the first quarter. The Falcons committed 25 turnovers, 11 more than the home team, and made only 6 of 24 three-pointers.
Bentley, which dropped to 5-1 on the season after seeing its winning streak against East Region opponents halted at 12, is back in action Sunday afternoon with a 2 pm game at the University of Bridgeport.