ALBANY, N.Y. – Senior guard Amy McConnell (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor HS) scored 12 of her game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter and junior guard Julia Ford (Charlton, Mass./Noble and Greenough) matched her career-best with 11 points off the bench as Bentley University got back on the winning track with a 75-66 win over the College of Saint Rose in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Saturday afternoon at Nolan Gymnasium.
Bentley, ranked tenth in Division II, improved to 14-2 overall and 8-1 in the NE10 after halting Saint Rose's six-game winning streak. The Golden Knights dropped to 10-5 overall and 3-5 in conference play.
Three times in the first four-plus minutes of the fourth, Saint Rose cut the Falcon lead to either one or two. And each time, Bentley countered with a three-pointer. McConnell hit one from deep to make it 57-53, junior guard Maddy Springfield (Jaffrey, N.H./Conant HS) buried one from the left side for a 61-56 lead and McConnell made it a 64-59 game when she sank her third triple of the day.
Bentley put the game away with seven unanswered points, extending a three-point advantage to 71-61 with 51 seconds left. Senior center Victoria Lux (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy) made two free throws, Springfield drove for a basket and McConnell hit three of four from the line during a span of 4:43 that the Golden Knights were held scoreless.
After falling behind for the only time in the game at 17-16, Bentley finished the first quarter with an 11-4 run that produced a 27-21 advantage. Nine of the 11 points came via the three-ball with Ford sinking two from the left side and sophomore forward Marissa Fontaine (Franklin, Mass./Bishop Feehan HS) one.
The Falcon run grew to 21-6 as Bentley scored ten of the first 12 second-quarter points. Included in that burst were a pair of inside baskets from sophomore center Erin Nolan (Binghamton, N.Y./ Susquehanna Valley HS). That made it a 37-23 game with 4:55 left until intermission.
The bench came up big for Bentley in the first half with Ford, Nolan and Fontaine combining for 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting.
The 12-point halftime lead shriveled to five by the end of the third as the Falcons shot only 23 percent in the quarter with many of the missed shots layups.
McConnell split her scoring evenly between three-point territory and the foul stripe. She made three of four from downtown and got to the line 14 times, making nine. She also had seven rebounds and four assists.
Ford also played a key role in Bentley making eight of 16 from three-point territory as she was perfect on her three attempts from downtown.
Springfield and junior forward Monica Viapiano (Holden, Mass./Wachusett Reg. HS) followed with nine points and the Falcons also received eight points apiece from Lux and Nolan. Springfield also gave the Falcons seven rebound and five assists.
Junior forward Leah Dollard led Saint Rose with 17 points and six rebounds off the bench.
Bentley outshot the Golden Knights, 47-35 percent, and finished with six more threes (8-2), seven more free throws (23-16) and six more rebounds (39-33). Saint Rose had six fewer turnovers and finished with a 15-5 advantage in points off.
Bentley will return to action Wednesday with a home game against American International.