Senior Mary Louise Dixon led five Skyhawks in double figures with 16 points and six assists. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)
Finn leads Falcons to 25th win without defeat with double-double effort
WALTHAM, Mass. (February 22, 2014) – Bentley University, ranked first in the USA TODAY Sports Division II poll, survived its toughest test of the season to date to claim a 79-74 triumph over rival Stonehill College, among teams receiving votes nationally, in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action at the Dana Athletic Center this afternoon.
Post grad Courtney Finn (Winthrop, Mass./Winthrop) led four Bentley players in double figures with a double-double performance of 19 points and ten rebounds to go with five assists as she finished shooting 6-for-14 from the field. Senior Lauren Battista (North Easton, Mass./Oliver Ames) added 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field and 3-for-4 from the free-throw line to go with six rebounds, four assists and two steals. Senior Caleigh Crowell (Harwich, Mass./Worcester Academy) contributed 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting overall and a 4-for-6 effort at the free-throw line with five steals, while classmate Jacqui Brugliera (Fitchburg, Mass./Wachusett Regional) chipped in ten points and six boards.
Senior Mary Louise Dixon (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley) led five Stonehill players in double figures with 16 points, aided by 11-of-12 shooting from the free-throw line, six assists, three rebounds and two steals. Classmate Asia Ewing (Westford, Mass./Westford Academy) made her first start of the season and added 14 points, a team-high nine rebounds and three assists, while junior Amy Pelletier (Beverly, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) registered 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including 2-for-3 from three-point range, and three rebounds.
Junior Tori Faieta (Lynn, Mass./Saint Mary's) contributed 11 points, six rebounds, five assists, three blocked shots and two steals, while sophomore Paige Marshall (Braintree, Mass./Braintree) chipped in ten points on 3-of-6 shooting, converting 3-of-4 free-throws, three rebounds, two assists and blocked shot and a steal. Senior Abbey Lalime (Orleans, Vt./Lake Region Union) scored eight key first half points to help the Skyhawks overcome some early errors, connecting on 3-of-4 shots from the field in the half, including 1-for-2 from downtown and converting her lone free-throw.
Senior Asia Ewing filled the stat sheet with 14 points, nine rebounds and three assists. (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)
Bentley shot 43.9-percent (25-for-57) from the field and converted 27-of-38 (71.1%) free-throw attempts on the afternoon. The Falcons made 46.7% (14-30) of their shots in the first half to build an eight point (39-31) halftime lead. Bentley held a 39-29 rebounding advantage to aid in a 17-3 break in second chance points. Stonehill finished shooting 44% (22-for-50) from the floor, including 50% (11-22) in the second half to nearly overcome a 39.3% (11-28) shooting effort over the opening 20 minutes. The Skyhawks connected on 7-of-22 (31.8%) three-pointers, including 5-of-9 (55.6%) in the second half, and converted 23-of-27 (85.2%) free-throws. Stonehill took much better care of the ball over the final 20 minutes after committing 12 first half turnovers, finishing with 20 overall, after being outscored 16-12 in points off turnovers in the first frame.
Stonehill's rally from a 15 point (58-43) deficit with 10:46 to play came up just short as a three-point attempt from Dixon, which was contested by two Bentley players, in the closing seconds sealed the Falcons win. Two free-throws by Finn provided Bentley with the 15 point bulge, capping a string of six straight Falcon points. Bentley's lead was still 13 (62-49) after a layup by senior Christiana Bakolas (Manchester, N.H./Manchester Central) with 8:51 remaining.
Stonehill responded with a 10-2 run over the next three minutes to close within five (64-59) after a three-pointer from Pelletier with 5:41 to play. Bentley held and reclaimed a nine point (69-60) cushion with 4:53 left after a three-point play and layup by Battista. The Skyhawks closed the gap to three (72-69) with a Ewing triple with 3:27 to go after also contributing a pair of free-throws during that stretch.
Stonehill went scoreless over the next three minutes, but Bentley was only able to push the lead back to six (75-69) with 44-seconds to go after Bakolas made one of two at the line and Crowell scored a layup off a Skyhawks turnover. Dixon and Bakolas traded pairs of free-throws before Dixon buried a three to draw Stonehill within a possession (77-74) once again with 16-seconds to go. Bakolas was fouled and missed both free-throws to give the Skyhawks one more chance, but Dixon's contested three was off the mark and Battista sealed the win with two free-throws with a second to go.
Bentley led by as much as 14 (30-16) after a layup by freshman Jen Gemma (Milton, Mass./Fontbonne Academy) with 6:50 remaining in the first half. Stonehill closed within eight (30-22) after a Faieta basket with 5:38 to go, before the Falcons reclaimed a 12 point lead (34-22) a minute later after back to back baskets from Finn and Gemma. The Skyhawks were able to draw back within seven (38-31) after a Ewing layup with 49-seconds to go in the half, but Finn made one of two free-throws with four seconds to go that sent the hosts into halftime with an eight point (39-31) lead.
Stonehill (17-7, 14-6 NE-10) returns to action on Tuesday when it closes out the regular season at Merkert Gymnasium against Saint Anselm College on Senior Night at 5:30 p.m. Bentley (25-0, 20-0 NE-10), winners of its first 25 games for the second time in program history, closes out the regular season by hosting Franklin Pierce University on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.