WALTHAM, Mass. – After completing the regular season with a 24-3 record and a number 13 ranking in the latest WBCA Division II national coaches' poll, the Bentley University women's basketball team will turn its sights on capturing the Northeast-10 Conference tournament championship for a record 20th time.
The postseason will get underway Sunday when the Falcons, seeded second out of the NE10's Northeast Division, hosts Pace University, the Southwest's number three seed, at 3 pm. A free webcast will be available at www.bentleyfalcons.tv.
Bentley, coming off a 65-50 win at Franklin Pierce in the regular season finale, has won its last four and owns an 11-1 record at the Dana Center.
Pace, 15-13 overall, opened the season with eight wins in its first nine games. Despite stringing together five straight wins to begin this month, the Setters are only 7-12 since Dec. 9 with seven of the losses decided by five or less. In their last two, they dropped one-possession games to Southern Connecticut, 53-50, and Saint Rose, 51-49.
The winner of Sunday's game will be looking at a Thursday night semifinal against NE10 Southwest champion Southern Connecticut, Saint Rose or Southern New Hampshire. The Owls would host that game if they advance, otherwise the winner of this game will be the home team.
Of Bentley's 24 victories, only one was closer than the Falcons' 72-66 win at Pace in late January. That was one of six games this season that coach Barbara Stevens' overcame a halftime deficit to pull out a W. Against the Setters, the Falcons dug themselves a 20-11 hole after one quarter and trailed 34-29 at the half before coming alive with a 26-point third quarter.
Bentley shot 71 percent in the third with junior center Victoria Lux (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy) leading the way. She made five of seven for ten points and finished the game with 20, sharing team-high scoring honors with graduate guard Becca Musgrove (Plainview, N.Y./St. Anthony's HS).
Those two are also Bentley's top scorers for the year with Lux entering the postseason at 13.6 and Musgrove following at 12.1. Lux has 13 double-doubles to her credit this season, with her team unbeaten in those contests, and Musgrove enters the postseason 30 points away from 1,000 for her career, including her three years at Brown.
Senior guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS) is Bentley's third double-figure scorer with her average standing at 10.1. She's third in program history in career three-pointers (238) and with her next start, will tie Courtney Finn and Danielle Chaisson for the fourth most starts in program history (121).
A victory on Sunday would send Bentley into the NE10 semifinals for the 34th time in the last 37 years as well as give the Falcons their 24th 25-win season, including seventh in the last eight years.
Pace is led by junior guard Alexandra Monteleone, who scored 23 points on 9-of-15 scoring against the Falcons last month and is averaging 12.3 points for the season. Sophomore guard Jackie DelliSanti is the team's other double-figure scorer, coming into the postseason at 10.5.
The Setters are undefeated (9-0) when they score at least 67 points. However, that is a mark they've met only once in their last ten games. Meanwhile, Bentley has held nine teams to 50 or less and is 17-0 when allowing less 65 or less.
Bentley and Pace have met in the conference tournament only once previously with the Falcons winning that one, 67-60 in the 2006 quarterfinals.
2018 Northeast-10 Women's Basketball Championships
First Round Friday, February 23
Game 1: Saint Rose (No. 5 seed SW) at Southern New Hampshire (No. 4 seed NE) – 7:00 PM
Game 2: Merrimack (No. 5 seed NE) at Adelphi (No. 4 seed SW) – 7:00 PM
Quarterfinals Sunday, February 25
Game 3: Game 1 winner at Southern Connecticut (No. 1 seed SW) – 3:00 PM
Game 4: Game 2 winner at Stonehill (No. 1 seed NE) – 3:00 PM
Game 5: Saint Anselm (No. 3 seed NE) at Le Moyne (No. 2 seed SW) – 2:00 PM
Game 6: Pace (No. 3 seed SW) at Bentley (No. 2 seed NE) – 3:00 PM
Semifinals Thursday, March 1 (at highest remaining seeds):
Game 7: Game 6 winner vs. Game 3 winner - 7:00 PM
Game 8: Game 5 winner vs. Game 4 winner - 7:00 PM
Championship Sunday, March 4 (at highest remaining seed):
Game 9: Game 8 winner vs. Game 7 winner - 1:00 PM | Broadcast live on Northeast10.tv