Finn, Battista Combine for 38 as Bentley Makes it 19-0 with 94-52 Win

Courtney Finn
Courtney Finn

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – All-Conference junior guard Courtney Finn (Winthrop, Mass./Winthrop HS) nailed five threes en route to 21 points, and All-America junior forward Lauren Battista (North Easton, Mass./Oliver Ames HS) followed with 17, as Bentley University stayed unbeaten with a 94-52 win over Southern Connecticut State in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Saturday afternoon at the Moore Fieldhouse.

Bentley, ranked second nationally in Division II, improved to 19-0 overall and 15-0 in the conference while stretching its East Region winning streak to 32 and maintaining a two-game NE-10 lead over Stonehill College, which won in overtime at Pace University.

The Falcons used shooting percentages of .576 overall, .500 from three (9-18) and .810 from the line to record its highest point total since a 96-point effort against Franklin Pierce University nine years ago.

Led by Finn and Battista, Bentley established itself early and maintained a double-digit lead over the game's final 37 minutes. A three by Finn and four points from Battista (two free throws and a fast-break lay-up) staked the visitors to a 7-0 start less than 100 seconds after the opening jump, and forced the first Southern timeout.

Bentley hit its first six shots to make it a 17-4 lead after four minutes, and pushed the spread to 16, 22-6, when sophomore guard Kelsey Mattice (Cicero, N.Y./Cicero North Syracuse HS) drained a three-ball with 13:45 on the first-half clock.

The lead grew to 35-13 with much of Bentley's early offensive success generated by the defense as 16 of the first 35 points came off of Owl turnovers.

Bentley finished the opening 20 minutes with a 56-30 point, the Falcons' highest first-half scoring output in 81 games, dating back to December 2010. Battista, who did all her scoring in the opening stanza, scored 15 before missing her first shot, and Finn had 13 before her first miss.

After Southern closed to within 19 four minutes into the second, a three-pointer from senior guard Kelsey Roberson (Arlington, Mass./Arlington Catholic HS) launched a crunching 21-2 explosion that made it a 39-point game with 7:19 to play, 82-43. The differential eventually peaked at 42, 90-48 with two minutes left.

Finn finished eight of ten from the floor, including five of seven from downtown, and also had six rebounds and two steals. Battista attempted 10 from the line, making nine, and also recorded nine rebounds and four assists.

They were joined in doubles by Roberson, Mattice and junior forward Tyler Parker Kimball (New Britain, Conn./New Britain HS). Roberson nailed three triples en route to 11 and both Mattice and Kimball set career-bests off the bench. Mattice scored 13 and Kimball contributed 11, on five-of-six shooting, and also had six boards.  

Freshman forward Jackie Beathea (Annandale, Va.) led Southern Connecticut with 16 points, but she was held to six rebounds, as was Owl junior Moni Smith Ocran (Bronx, N.Y.). Both came in averaging 10.5 boards per game.

Bentley limited the Owls to 38 percent shooting and forced 23 turnovers, which led to a commanding 36-8 advantage in points off turns. The Falcons, who set a season-best in field goal percentage for the second straight game, made three times as many threes as Southern, 9-3, and had a 17-7 edge in free throws made.

The Falcons will also be on the road Wednesday, playing a 5:30 game at Merrimack College.