LAKELAND, Fla. – Senior guard Maddy Springfield (Jaffrey, N.H./Conant HS) buried a game-winning three with 5.9 seconds left and finished with a career-best 23 points off the bench, leading Bentley University to a come-from-behind 65-62 win over Florida Southern in non-conference women's basketball Saturday evening at Jenkins Field House.
Her game-winner, a straight-away shot from about three feet beyond the arc, broke a 62-62 all tie and capped a 27-point fourth quarter for the Falcons.
Springfield, whose previous best was 15, made seven of nine shots overall, four of six from three-point land and five of seven free throws. She also contributed five points and two assists during her 31 minutes on the floor.
After scoring only 38 points in the first three quarters and entering the fourth down six, the Bentley offense came alive in the final stanza. Part of the reason was senior center Monica Viapiano (Holden, Mass./Holy Name HS) being in the court instead of on the bench in foul trouble.
After playing only four minutes in the first three quarters, Viapiano fueled a 9-0 run that created a 53-all tie with 5:47 left to play. She had six of the nine, with a three-pointer from sophomore guard Kari Brekke (Appleton, Wisc./Appleton North HS) accounting for the other points. A Viapiano lay-up, following a steal from freshman guard Ella Thompson (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove HS), was the tying basket.
The Mocs regained the lead on a second-chance basket, but Bentley came back with 7-0 run that produced its first lead of the night, 60-55 with 4:15 remaining. Thompson had five of the seven with a Viapiano fast-break lay-up sandwiched in between.
Florida Southern, a 30-game winner and Sweet 16 team a year ago, came back to tie the game twice in the final two minutes. After a Barbara Stevens timeout with 32.1 seconds left, the Falcons ran down most of the clock before Springfield's late-game heroics.
Springfield kept Bentley close in a first half that ended with the Falcons training by seven. She scored 14 of the Falcons' 25 points and made four of five shots. In contrast, the rest of the squad was just four of 19.
Bentley trailed by as many as 11 in the third quarter following a 6-0 FSC run that made it 38-27 with eight minutes left.
Three teammates joined Springfield in double figures. Brekke finished with 11 and both Viapiano and Thompson added ten apiece.
Florida Southern was led by six-one senior Katerina Pazzaglia-Khomenko (Cervia, Italy) with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Sizzling shooting in the third, 10 of 13, boosted Bentley to .440 overall for the game. On the other hand, the Mocs (2-2) finished at .356 overall and 6 of 20 from three.
Bentley rebounded much better in the second half. After being outboard 23-12 in the first half, they controlled the boards in the second, 21-13.
Bentley will conclude its Florida trip Monday at 5:30 at Nova Southeastern University.