COLCHESTER, Vt. -- Freshman forward Lauren Battista (North Easton, Mass./Oliver Ames HS) finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds, and senior All-Conference guard Kim Brennan (Locust Valley, N.Y./Locust Valley HS) followed with 19 points and nine assists, as Bentley University pulled out an 82-79 win over St. Michael's College in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Sunday afternoon at the Ross Sports Center.
Bentley, down by as many as four in the overtime, closed out the game with seven unanswered points over the final 2:10, a run that begin with a lay-up and three-pointer by freshman post Jacqui Brugliera (Fitchburg, Mass./Wachusett Reg. HS).
The win for the 24th-ranked team in Division II gave the Falcons their first double-digit winning streak since 2003 and, coupled with Pace's 66-60 win at Assumption, gave Bentley sole possession of first place in the NE-10. Coach Barbara Stevens' team improved to 10-1 overall and 7-0 in the conference while St. Michael's dipped to 4-5 overall and 2-4 NE-10.
After the Knights went up four three times in the first three minutes of the extra session, Bentley drew within two on Brugliera's lay-up with 2:10 left. Following a defensive stop and rebounds at both the defensive and offensive ends by Battista, Brugliera buried a three-ball from the top of the key, accounting for the 13th lead change since halftime.
Two more defensive rebounds by Battista led to a pair of Bentley trips to the line with both sophomore Courtney Finn (Winthrop, Mass./Winthrop HS) and Brennan making one of two in the final 35 seconds. St. Michael's, after Brennan made it a three-point game with 7.7 seconds left, had a chance for a tying trey, but the attempt came up well short.
St. Michael's, with only two wins in 52 games against the Falcons all-time, went into the halftime break riding an eight-point advantage, 35-27, due to hot shooting and a strong start and finish to the opening half. The Purple Knights connected at a 56 percent in the opening half, with senior forward Logan Pintka (Schenectady, N.Y.) setting the pace at 5-of-5.
St. Michael's opened the game with seven straight points and was up 18-9 a little past the midpoint of the first half. Bentley closed to within two on three occasions, but a 6-0 St. Michael's spurt over the final 1:35 extended the difference to eight.
The game turned around rapidly once play resumed after the break, with Bentley using a 15-2 spurt out of the gate to grab a 42-37 advantage. Brennan, who moved into ninth on the program's all-time scoring list, led that charge with seven points.
St. Michael's came back to take a 46-45 lead with 10:40 left in the second half, and it was back-and-forth for the rest of regulation with the two clubs never separated by more than four. Pintka evened the game at 71 with two free throws with 31.2 seconds left, and Brennan missed a potential game-winning jumper with about four seconds to play. Despite a timeout with 2.5 ticks of the clock remaining, the Purple Knights were unable to get a shot off.
Battista (8-11 from the field) and Brennan were followed in the scoring column by Brugliera and Finn, each with 11 points. Junior guard Katherine Goodwin (Goffstown, N.H./Governors Academy) added nine points for the Falcons.
Pintka led the way for St. Michael's with 19, and junior guard Caitlin Hennessy (Chatham, N.H.) followed with 14.
St. Michael's shot better, 50-47 percent, but Bentley won the rebounding battle (39-32) and had a 7-3 edge in three-pointers. The Falcons got to the line considerably more (27-15), but made only one more as the Knights connected at a 93 percent success rate.
Bentley, after three road games in five days, is back at home Wednesday for a 5:30 meeting with New Haven.
At Colchester, Vt. (Ross Sports Center)
BENTLEY 82, SAINT MICHAEL'S 79
BENTLEY (10-1, 7-0 NE-10) -- Lauren Battista 8-11 4-6 20; Kim Brennan 7-17 2-3 19; Jacqui Brugliera 4-14 2-4 11; Courtney Finn 3-6 3-6 11; Katherine Goodwin 3-7 2-2 9; Shatasia Kearse 3-4 1-4 7; Kelsey Roberson 1-2 1-2 3; Christiana Bakolas 1-2 0-0 2; Meghan Thomann 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 30-64 15-27 82.
SAINT MICHAEL'S (4-5, 2-4 NE-10) -- Logan Pintka 7-13 5-6 19; Coreen Hennessy 6-8 0-0 14; Megan Olsen 3-4 6-6 12; Marilyn Ferreira 3-7 2-2 8; Cara Deroy 4-6 0-0 8; Nicole Adach 3-7 1-1 7; Meghan McCormack 2-5 0-0 4; Caitlin Quinn 1-5 0-0 3; Alexa Long 1-3 0-0 2; Mandy Scott 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 31-62 14-15 79.
Halftime: SM 35-27; 3-point goals--B 7-21 (Brennan 3-7; Finn 2-4; Goodwin 1-4; Brugliera 1-3; Thomann 0-1; Roberson 0-1; Battista 0-1), SM 3-15 (Hennessy 2-2; Quinn 1-5; Deroy 0-1; McCormack 0-3; Long 0-1; Scott 0-2; Pintka 0-1). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--B 39 (Battista 13), SM 32 (Adach 6). Assists--B 15 (Brennan 9), SM 16 (Ferreira 4). Total fouls--B 15, SM 17. Technical fouls--None.