WALTHAM, Mass. – Bentley University women's basketball coach Barbara Stevens will put her undefeated team to the test twice this weekend with Division II's third-ranked squad taking on New York Institute of Technology Saturday at 1 pm and the University of Bridgeport Sunday at 2 pm in a pair of non-conference contests.
It's the second straight year that the Falcons will head into Thanksgiving weekend with an unblemished record and back-to-back games against those same two teams.
Last time around didn't go well as the Falcons dropped both contests on the road, two of only four regular season losses suffered by the 2016-17 team. Twenty-five turnovers resulted in a 72-60 loss at NYIT and a day later, 31 percent shooting led to a 64-60 loss at Bridgeport.
This year's squad is off to a 4-0 start following Tuesday night's 64-52 win at Assumption. Bentley enjoyed an 11-2 advantage in three-pointers made against the Greyhounds with five different Falcons connecting from long distance, including a 4-for-4 first-half effort from freshman Marissa Fontaine (Franklin/Bishop Feehan HS).
Guard and Brown transfer Becca Musgrove (Plainview, N.Y./St. Anthony's HS), Bentley's top scorer against Assumption with 16, has taken over the team-lead in scoring for the season with a 13.0 average. She also leads the Falcons with 4.7 assists a game and has an impressive 4.33-1 assist-turnover ratio.
Bentley's other double-figure scorers are senior guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./ Damascus HS), Fontaine and junior center Victoria Lux (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy). Green, five three-pointers shy of 200 for her career and the owner of a 12.8 scoring average, has been the NE10's most accurate shooter from beyond the arc (11-18, .611).
Fontaine has come off the bench to average 12 points a game and Lux is averaging 11.5 points and 11.8 rebounds following back-to-back double-doubles.
NYIT, who the Falcons beat to win the 2016 NCAA East Regional title, will come into the Dana Center riding a 3-2 record. The Bears have won three of their last four, including a 55-54 win over Adelphi, following a season-opening loss to Pace. Most recently, they topped Dominican in convincing fashion, 82-64, as they used 49 percent shooting and a 46-33 rebound advantage. Lafayette transfer Maia Hood led four double-figure scorers with 17 points, nine rebounds and three assists.
Hood is NYIT's second leading scorer for the season, her 12.6 trailing only the 16.2 of senior guard Nina Vukosavijevic. Tabbed the preseason Player of the Year in the East Coast Conference, she also averages 5.2 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 2.2 steals.
Like NYIT, Bridgeport has won three of its last four after dropping its season-opener to St. Michael's, 69-61. The Purple Knights have a two-game winning streak, including a 77-63 victory over Felician last Sunday. Sofia Ermeidou, a senior guard from Greece, led the way as she knocked down five three-pointers and finished with 22 points.
Bridgeport features six-foot-five junior Samnell Vonteh, who formerly played at Saint Anselm and has 19 blocks in four career games against Bentley. She leads the Knights in scoring at 13 a game and also averages nine rebounds and 2.2 blocks. Sophomore guard Kadijah Dickson (11.6) and Emeidou (10.4) are the team's other double-figure scorers and senior post Morgen Caution is close to averaging a double-double (9.6 ppg, 10.0 rpg).
The two contests this weekend are part of a three-game homestand for coach Stevens and her team. They'll also host Franklin Pierce in a Northeast-10 contest on Wednesday.