WALTHAM, Mass. – Six players, including five off the bench, scored at least seven points and the same number had at least six rebounds as Bentley University nearly doubled the University of Bridgeport, 84-44, in non-conference women's basketball action Sunday afternoon at the Dana Center.
In a 40-point game where both team's starters scored 29 points, the Falcon bench impressed with 55 points and 23 rebounds in 111 minutes as the third-ranked team nationally in Division II improved to 6-0. Bridgeport, which was limited to 17 second-half points, dropped to 3-3 on the season.
Bentley had three players score in doubles with freshman guard Katie Meriggioli (Waunakee, Wisc./Edgewood HS) leading the way with a career-high dozen points in as many minutes. She made five of her seven shots and also contributed seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Junior center Victoria Lux (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy) followed with 11 points, six rebounds, two steals and two blocks, and freshman forward Marissa Fontaine (Franklin/Bishop Feehan HS) came off the bench to provide ten points and nine rebounds.
The Falcons also received nine points apiece from sophomore forward Monica Viapiano (Holden/Holy Name HS) and senior guard Trevena Bennett (Union, N.J./Gill St. Bernard's School). Both also had an impact in terms of rebounding with Viapiano claiming seven and Bennett six.
After trailing most of the opening quarter, Bentley took control of the game with a 16-2 blast that turned a 13-10 deficit with a little more than two minutes left in the first to a 26-15 lead three minutes into the second. Seven different players scored during that five-minute stretch, including junior guard Amy McConnell (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor HS) with five points.
The lead stood at 17 at the half, 44-27, and Bentley pulled away throughout the second half, outscoring the Purple Knights 20-8 in the third and 20-9 in the fourth.
Bentley, which saw seven players combine for eight three-pointers, outshot the visitors .423 to .295 and dominated the boards, 54-35. Eleven more offensive rebounds (19-8) and ten fewer turnovers (16-26) resulted in the Falcons taking 17 more shots.
The Falcons' 21 assists included five from senior guard Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward School) and the 16 steals included three apiece from grad student Becca Musgrove (Plainview, N.Y./St. Anthony's HS) and senior forward Cassie Smith (Edison, N.J./Metuchen HS), as well as Meriggioli.
Other stats Bentley had a huge advantage included points in the paint (45-18), points off turnovers (29-3) and second chance points (21-10).
Guard Kadijah Dickson (Queens, N.Y.) led Bridgeport with 15 points.
Bentley will conclude its three-game homestand on Wednesday when it hosts Franklin Pierce at 5:30 pm.