WALTHAM, Mass. -- Freshman forward Jacqui Brugliera (Fitchburg/Wachusett Reg. HS) recorded her fifth double-double, finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds, and junior guard Katherine Goodwin (Goffstown, N.H./Governors Academy) shot her way to 14 points as Bentley University never trailed en route to a 73-61 win over Pace University in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Saturday afternoon at the Dana Center.
Bentley, ranked 13th nationally in Division II and number one in the East Region, bounced back from Wednesday's 70-60 loss at Saint Rose to best the Setters, who entered the day with a region-best 16 wins. The Falcons improved to 16-3 overall and a conference-best 13-2 in the NE-10 while Pace, number three in the regional rankings, returned to New York at 16-5 overall (10-5 NE-10).
Coach Barbara Stevens' team established themselves early, using a string of 11 unanswered points to open a 13-2 advantage. Junior forward Shatasia Kearse (Framingham/Lincoln-Sudbury Reg. HS) had four of the 11, and while Bentley was getting off to a strong start, Pace scored on just one of its first 13 possessions (1-8 shooting with five turns).
Bentley's first-half lead peaked at 16 on three occasions, the first coming when freshman forward Lauren Battista (North Easton/Oliver Ames HS) finished a fast-break with a lay-up with just under seven minutes left in the half.
Pace scored the final five points of the first half to draw within 11 at the break, 37-26, and netted the opening basket of the second to make it a 37-28 game. The comeback continued with an eight-footer by senior forward Brittany Huggins (Windsor, Conn.) drawing the Setters within five four-and-a-minutes into the second half.
Bentley temporarily quieted the visitors with six straight points, the last three coming on a Goodwin triple from the left wing. However, Pace answered with a 9-2 spurt to close the gap to within four at 50-46 just past the midpoint of the second. That run could have been larger, but the Setters hurt themselves with four missed free throws during that stretch.
Baskets by Brugliera and senior guard Kim Brennan (Locust Valley, N.Y./Locust Valley HS) restored the lead to eight, and the differential remained between six and nine until the game clock dipped under two minutes.
On top 67-59, the Falcons used a lay-up by Brugliera, three free throws by sophomore Kelsey Roberson (Arlington/Arlington Catholic HS) and one by Goodwin to lock up the victory. Those six unanswered points made it a 14-point spread with 46 seconds left.
Brugliera needed 18 shots for her 17 points but Goodwin was much more efficient, hitting five of six with two three-pointers. She also had two steals and a block.
Brennan was the Falcons' third double-figure scorer as she finished with 13 points, five assists, four rebounds and just one turnover. Kearse and freshman guard Christiana Bakolas (Manchester, N.H./Central HS) each added eight points and Battista had seven points and seven rebounds.
Huggins led Pace with 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting, and sophomore forward Brittany Shields (Cold Spring, N.Y.) filled the stat sheet with 16 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Bentley outshot the visitors (48-41 percent), made six more free throws (15-9) and committed three fewer turnovers (11-14). The Falcons made the Pace giveaways hurt, amassing a 21-4 advantage in points off turns. They also had a 15-9 edge in second chance points despite the Setters having 17 offensive boards, three more than the Falcons.
Bentley will take its one-game lead in the conference standings to North Andover Wednesday for a 5:30 pm game at Merrimack College.
At Waltham, Mass. (Dana Center)
BENTLEY 73, PACE 61
PACE (16-5, 10-5 NE-10) -- Brittany Huggins 8-11 0-0 18; Brittany Shields 5-16 6-8 16; Carol Johnson 4-10 2-6 10; Victoria Jones 3-6 0-0 8; Kerri White 1-2 1-2 3; Kristin Connolly 1-3 0-0 2; Allison Cleary 1-3 0-0 2; Lisa Welsome 1-5 0-0 2; Maral Javadifar 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 24-58 9-16 61.
BENTLEY (16-3, 13-2 NE-10) -- Jacqui Brugliera 7-18 3-4 17; Katherine Goodwin 5-6 2-3 14; Kim Brennan 4-12 4-4 13; Christiana Bakolas 3-5 2-4 8; Shatasia Kearse 4-6 0-0 8; Lauren Battista 3-6 1-1 7; Kelsey Roberson 0-1 3-4 3; Meghan Thomann 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 27-56 15-20 73.
Halftime: B 37-26; 3-point goals--P 4-15 (Huggins 2-4; Jones 2-5; Johnson 0-1; White 0-1; Connolly 0-1; Cleary 0-1; Welsome 0-2), B 4-9 (Goodwin 2-3; Thomann 1-2; Brennan 1-2; Brugliera 0-2). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--P 36 (Shields 15), B 33 (Brugliera 10). Assists--P 12 (Shields, Johnson 4), B 16 (Brennan 5). Total fouls--P 18, B 14. Technical fouls--None.