Bench Helps No. 7/8 Bentley Rally Past Assumption, 83-71

Monica Viapiano
Monica Viapiano

WALTHAM, Mass. – Junior forward Monica Viapiano (Holden/Wachusett Reg. HS) and freshman guard Kolleen Bouchard (Houlton, Maine/Houlton HS) came off the bench to make a combined 13 of 15 shots, helping Bentley University stay undefeated with an 83-71 win over Assumption College in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Tuesday night at the Dana Center.

Bentley, which trailed after each of the first three quarters, used a 31-point fourth quarter to improve to 5-0 overall and 2-0 NE10. Assumption dropped to 2-3 overall and 1-2 conference despite a 32-point effort from senior forward Morgan O'Donnell (Easton).

Five players scored in double figures for the Falcons, who are seventh in the D2SIDA poll and eighth in the WBCA Division II coaches' poll. Viapiano and senior center Victoria Lux (Arundel, Maine/ Thornton Academy) led the way with 14 apiece, Bouchard and senior guard Amy McConnell (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor HS) each followed with 13, and sophomore guard Katie Meriggioli (Waunakee, Wis./Edgewood HS) helped with 12 points.

On the short end of a 54-52 score heading into the final quarter, Bentley outscored the visiting Greyhounds 13-2 over the first four minutes to build a nine-point lead. Five different players contributed points, including Viapiano with four and both Meriggioli and McConnell with three.

Assumption answered with an O'Donnell-powered 11-4 run that cut the deficit to two points, 69-67, with just under four minutes left. O'Donnell accounted for nine of the 11, all from inside.

Meriggioli scored the game's next six points and Lux followed with an inside basket to restore the lead to nine, 76-67 with 2:09 left. After an Assumption three-pointer, Bentley locked up the outcome by scoring seven straight, including a driving lay-up by Bouchard, who finished with a career-high.

Eight straight points surrounding the first quarter break gave Assumption a 24-17 lead early in the second. Bentley countered with a 16-2 spurt to go back up seven, but 13 straight points by the Greyhounds, sandwiching halftime, returned the lead to the visitor, 39-33.

The third quarter saw two more runs, nine straight by Bentley and 5-0 by Assumption before the two teams exchanged baskets over the final two minutes.

Viapiano made seven of her field shot attempts and Bouchard nearly matched her with a six-of-seven performance. Bouchard also handed out six assists and finished with a plus-19 in 24:21. Lux and Meriggioli led the Falcons in rebounds with eight and six, respectively.

O'Donnell achieved her second 30-point game of the season by making 13 of 18 field goal attempts.

Both teams shot well overall (Bentley .526, Assumption .500), but the Hounds had twice as many threes, 8-4. The Falcons had the rebounding edge, 35-30, and a 33-16 advantage in points off turns.

The Falcon bench totaled 35 points and a plus-35 while their counterparts totaled only six points and were a minus-35.

Bentley will be on the road Saturday for a 2 pm game at the University of Bridgeport.