GARDEN CITY, N.Y. – Adelphi University senior forward Sierra Clark (Hughesville, Md.) broke a 59-all tie with a free throw with 10.9 seconds left and classmate Calli Balfour (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.) added two more after tracking down an offensive rebound, giving the 25th-ranked Panthers a 62-60 win over number 15 Bentley University in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball at the Center for Recreation and Sport Wednesday evening.
Both teams entered the game undefeated in conference play and at the top of their respective divisions. Adelphi improved to 14-2 overall and 9-0 NE10 while Bentley dropped to 12-4 and 8-1.
Bentley received a career-high 24 points and four steals in a 40-minute effort by junior guard Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward School) and a season-best 18 rebounds, ten coming at the offensive end, from senior All-America forward Jen Gemma (Milton, Mass./Fontbonne Academy).
Clark and Balfour both had double-doubles for Adelphi as they combined for 37 of the Panthers' points. Clark finished with 20 points and ten rebounds and Balfour had 17 and 15.
After trailing by as many as nine in the third quarter, Bentley carried a 43-41 lead into the final stanza. The Panthers, limited to five points during the final 5:50 of the first, opened the fourth with a burst, a 13-5 run that produced a 54-48 lead with just over three minutes to play. Clark had six of the 13 and Balfour provided five.
An eight-footer by junior guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS) and a three-ball from junior guard Trevena Bennett (Union, N.J./Gill St. Bernard School) brought Bentley within one before a put-back from Falcon sophomore forward Victoria Lux (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy) tied the contest at 57-57.
Following two Balfour free throws, Bentley tied the game again, this time on a 17-foot leaner by Smith with 24.6 seconds.
A rough shooting first half had Bentley entering the halftime locker room on the short end of a 30-23 score despite nine points and four steals from Smith and a dozen rebounds by Gemma. The visitors connected on only 31 percent, including just 1-for-11 from three and 4-for-17 in the second stanza.
The Falcons tied the game three times, the last at 20-20 on a runner by Smith midway through the second quarter. Adelphi yielded only one more basket the rest of the half, a triple by Smith, and closed with a 10-3 spurt.
The Bentley offense came to life in the third, the Falcons shooting 54 percent while outscoring the Panthers 20-11. Smith single-handedly outscored the home team, 12-11, as she made all four of her shots and three of four from the line.
Smith's 24-point effort saw her make 9 of 22 shots overall, a pair of three-pointers, and 4 of 6 free throws. Bennett was the other Falcon to reach doubles, finishing with 11 along with five rebounds. Gemma scored eight while struggling through a 3 for 18 shooting night.
Bentley outshot Adelphi 36-33 percent overall and committed two fewer turnovers, making only eight. Adelphi had the edge in free throws (14-8), three-pointers (6-4, .357-.200) and rebounds (48-45).
The next three for coach Barbara Stevens' team are at home, beginning Saturday at 1:30 pm against American International.