MANCHESTER, N.H. – Junior forward Kylie Lorenzen (Holliston, Mass.) scored 11 of her game-high 21 points in the final quarter as Southern New Hampshire University completed a season-sweep of Bentley University, the seventh-ranked team in Division II, by the count of 66-55 Wednesday evening in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball at the The Field House.
The loss, Bentley's first ever in 21 visits to the SNHU campus, dropped the Falcons two games back of Stonehill in the NE10 Northeast Division standings with four regular season contests left. Bentley left the court at 20-3 overall, including 14-3 NE10, while the third place Penmen improved to 15-8 (11-6).
Lorenzen led SNHU with 21 points, nine rebounds and three steals. Three scored in doubles for Bentley with graduate guard Becca Musgrove (Plainview, N.Y./St. Anthony's HS) at the top of the list with 13, along with five steals, five rebounds and three assists.
An 18-3 run by the Penmen that started in the third quarter and transitioned into the fourth proved to be the difference as it turned a one-point Falcon lead into a 55-41 SNHU advantage in a span of about eight minutes. Over that stretch, Bentley came up empty on ten straight possessions with seven missed shots and three turns.
It was the second lengthy dry spell of the game for the Falcons. They were scoreless for the first 4:39 after eight missed shots and three giveaways on their first 11 possessions (0-8, 3 turns). Fortunately, the home team also had offensive struggles at the start, scoring only two baskets.
A low-scoring first half ended with Musgrove scoring four points in the final 30 seconds – in close after an offensive rebound and a buzzer-beating lay-up after a steal – to send the Falcons into the break up four, 28-24.
The four-point advantage matched Bentley's lead after the opening quarter. After the slow start, the Falcons embarked on a 14-4 run to go up six late after SNHU scored just before the horn. Sophomore forward Monica Viapiano (Holden, Mass./Holy Name HS) sparked that surge with six points off the bench.
After falling behind again, this time by four, Bentley put together 12-4 spurt over the final 6:50 of the second, including the two baskets from Musgrove.
Bentley's final lead came off a run of six unanswered, including a Viapiano hook, that produced a 39-38 game with 3:57 to play.
Down the stretch, Bentley took advantage of SNHU misses at the foul stripe to close to within five, 60-55, with 55.2 seconds left. Senior guard Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward School) made two free throws and classmate Trevena Bennett (Union, N.J./Gill St. Bernard's School) followed with a fast-break lay-up.
Lorenzen countered with a lay-up and the Penmen made four free throws in the final 16 seconds to close out the game.
Bentley, which was held to a season-low point total and 22 before its norm, also received 13 from Viapiano and 11 from Smith.
Lorenzen, one of four in doubles for SNHU, was followed on the scoring list by senior guard Catherine Stinson (Lynn, Mass.) with 16 points, along with eight rebounds.
Bentley had a tough shooting night across the board, hitting only .354 overall, 5 of 21 threes and 4 of 7 from the line. SNHU knocked down 8 of 12 in the fourth quarter to finish at. 424.
Bentley will look to bounce back Saturday with a 1:30 game at Saint Anselm College.