MANCHESTER, N.H. – A dominating third quarter, powered by the outside shooting of junior guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS), was the difference as Bentley University got back on track with a 67-54 win over Saint Anselm College in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Wednesday evening at the Stoutenburgh Gym.
Bentley, ranked 11th in this week's WBCA Division II coaches poll, snapped a two-game slide while improving to 6-2 overall and taking sole possession of first in the NE-10's Northeast Division at 4-0. Saint Anselm, which had been ranked nationally early in the campaign, dropped its third straight to fall to 3-3 (1-3 NE-10).
Senior All-America forward Jen Gemma (Milton, Mass./Fontbonne Academy), who moved into a tie for sixth on the program's career scoring list (1,695), led the Falcons with 20 points, nine rebound and three steals. Green, four of eight from three-point land, followed with her 19 points including 11 in the third quarter.
In the third, during which time Bentley went from down three to up a dozen, the Falcons shot the lights out, hitting eight of 11 overall and five of six from distance. Meanwhile, the defense limited the Hawks to just two of ten with one of the baskets coming in the final 30 seconds.
Bentley came out of the locker room and reversed the three-point difference in the opening minute as junior guard Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward School) nailed a three from the right corner and Gemma did the same from out front.
After a Hawk lay-up, the next eight points went up on the Bentley side of the scoreboard, making it 39-30 with 5:28 to play. Two of Green's three trifectas in the quarter came during that spurt. The lead peaked at 48-34, following five straight from Green, and it stood at 48-36 at the break.
In the fourth, Saint Anselm drew within seven, 57-50, before a three-point play off an inbound restored the differential to 10 with 2:54. Five of six free throws in the final 40 seconds locked up the 963rd career win for coach Barbara Stevens.
Bentley's third quarter momentum was a carryover from the final 4:40 of the first half when the Falcons held the Hawks scoreless and lowered what had been as much as a ten-point advantage for the home team.
Smith was the Falcons' third double-figure scorer as she filled the stat sheet with 12 points, five steals and four assists. While no one else scored more than four, senior forward Parker Gregory (Fishkill, N.Y./John Jay HS) helped with seven rebounds.
Senior guard Candace Andrews (Boston) led Saint Anselm with a game-high 21 points, seven rebounds and six steals.
Both teams shot about 41 percent but Bentley was more effective from deep, hitting 8 of 24 as compared to 2 of 11. The Falcons also made and attempted three more free throws (11/13, 8/10) and came up with 13 steals, all by the starting five. Bentley scored 25 points off 21 turns while the Hawks turned 13 into nine points.
Bentley will be back in the Granite State Saturday for a 1:30 contest at Southern New Hampshire, a game that will air on NESN plus and NESN national.