WALTHAM, Mass. – Junior All-America forward Lauren Battista (North Easton/Oliver Ames HS) scored 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting, and classmate Jacqui Brugliera (Fitchburg/Wachusett Reg. HS) added 14 points and 13 rebounds, as Bentley University stayed perfect on the season, improving to 14-0 overall with a 74-55 win over American International College in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Tuesday night at the Dana Center.
Bentley, ranked second in Division II, remained a game ahead of Stonehill College in the NE-10 standings while stretching its winning streak to 27 against East Region opposition. AIC dropped to 7-7 overall and 4-6 in the conference.
Two keys to the Falcons' wire-to-wire win were its success from three-point land and its rebounding dominance.
Bentley, which never trailed for the fourth time in five games since Christmas, connected a season-best 12 times and shot 50 percent from beyond the arc, with six different players hitting from downtown. Brugliera, who had only three triples for the season before the game, matched that total while attempting just four, and freshman guard Jane White (Amherst, N.H./ Souhegan HS) dropped three of five long-balls through the net.
AIC came into the game ranked in the top ten in Division II in rebound margin, with a conference-best +10.6 on a season. With Brugliera leading the way (10 boards in the first half alone), the Falcons owned the glass, finishing with a 39-27 advantage overall, including 12 at the offensive end. The Falcons, now unbeaten in their last 18 home games, outscored the Yellow Jackets 24-8 over the final 8:20 of the opening half to build a 39-23 lead. The bench was instrumental in that surge with White connecting three times from outside and junior forward Tyler Parker Kimball (New Britain, Conn./New Britain HS) netting four points. Battista also played a role, with seven of her 14 first-half points coming during that stretch.
Bentley opened the second half with a 7-2 spurt, including Battista's final two baskets of the night, and was never threatened the rest of the way, the lead remaining between 16 and 23.
Battista, in addition to pushing her career point total to 1,229, chipped in with six rebounds and two assists. Senior guard Courtney Finn (Winthrop/Winthrop HS) joined Brugliera and Battista in double figures, finishing with 14, along with seven rebounds, four assists and two steals, and White provided 11 points.
Junior guard Christiana Bakolas (Manchester, N.H./Central HS) gave the Falcons six assists, along with five points, and senior guard Kelsey Roberson (Arlington/Arlington Catholic HS) buried a pair from three-point land.
Sophomore forward Krista Ferrentino (East Longmeadow) led AIC with 14 points, four rebounds and two steals.
Bentley, which was over 50 percent shooting most of the way, finished at 46 percent overall while holding AIC to 40 percent, including just one of seven from outside the three-point line. The Falcons also had a big edge at the line, making 16 of 20 as compared to the Yellow Jackets' six of eight.
Bentley will be on the road for its next two, beginning Saturday afternoon at Saint Rose.