WALTHAM, Mass. – School records for field goal percentage and three-point accuracy, the first 100-point performance in more than two years and five double-figure scorers all contributed to a 101-52 win for the nationally-ranked Bentley University women's basketball team against Southern Connecticut State in Northeast-10 Conference action Saturday afternoon on Barbara Stevens Court.
Coach Barbara Stevens' team shot a blistering .688 overall, matching the best by a Division II team this season and breaking the school record of .659 set against Bryant in 2002 and equaled against Stonehill 13 years ago. The Falcons' .682 accuracy mark from three, on 15 of 22, was also the best in program history (minimum 10 made).
The balanced Bentley attack was led by graduate forward Megan Lewis (Sevenoaks, England), with 18 points on six-of-seven shooting and four-of-five from deep. Senior center Monica Viapiano (Holden/Holy Fame HS) followed with 15 points in only 16:14 as the Falcons reached the century mark for the first time since December 2017.
The win was the eighth straight overall and 15th straight in the Dana Center for the Falcons, who were 19th in his week's D2SIDA media poll. Bentley improved to 12-3 overall and 7-0 NE10 while extending their lead in the NE10 Northeast Division to two games. Southern Connecticut, with its fourth straight loss, fell to 7-8 overall and 1-6 conference.
It was Southern who had the hot hand early with the Owls making eight of their first 10 shots to open a 17-12 lead six minutes into the contest.
Bentley closed the first quarter with a 14-4 run to take a 26-21 lead. That closing burst included five points from Lewis, four free throws from Viapiano and a three-pointer from sophomore guard Kari Brekke (Appleton, Wis./Appleton North HS).
The Falcons pulled away in the second quarter, limiting the Owls to six points and 12 percent shooting to take a 20-point lead into the half, 47-27.
The difference stood at 30 after three, 75-45, and the fourth quarter was all Bentley, 26-7. The Falcons made 10 of 13 during the final ten minutes while the Owls were limited to 11 percent.
Lewis (5 rebounds, 2 blocks) and Viapiano (5 of 6 shooting) were followed in the scoring column by freshman guard Ella Thompson (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove HS) , junior guard Katie Meriggioli (Waunakee, Wis./ Edgewood HS) and senior forward Maddy Springfield (Jaffrey, N.H./Conant HS). Thompson didn't miss a shot (4-4 3's, 2-2 FT) during a 14-point, nine-rebound, seven-assist performance. Meriggioli made all three of her triples and finished with 11 points, six rebounds and two steals. Springfield, off the bench, had 11 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
Bentley also received nine points apiece from junior center Erin Nolan (Binghamton, N.Y./ Susquehanna Valley HS) and sophomore guard Kolleen Bouchard (Houlton, Maine/Houlton HS), as well as eight from Brekke.
Southern Connecticut, which shot only .275 despite the hot start, received 18 points from senior guard Imani Wheeler (Dumfries, Va.).
Bentley outrebounded the Owls by an incredible 33, finishing with a 51-18 advantage on the boards. The Falcons turned the ball over 21 times while forcing only nine, but had the advantage in three-pointers (15-6), free throws (20-8), assists (26-7) and points in the paint (34-14).
On Tuesday, Bentley will be at the University of New Haven for a 1 pm game.