WALTHAM, Mass. – Despite playing only 20 minutes, Bentley University senior All-America forward Lauren Battista (North Easton/Oliver Ames HS) poured in 24 points as the number one-ranked team in the USA TODAY Sports/WBCA Division II poll stayed undefeated with an 89-68 win over Assumption College in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Wednesday night at the Dana Center.
Battista split her 24 points equally between the two halves and finished 11 of 15 from the field. It boosted her career point total to 1,597 and moved her ahead of Kim Penwell '93 and Becky Davison '04 into seven on Bentley's all-time list.
Bentley shot 51 percent overall and knocked down eight three-pointers while improving to 5-0 on the season, including 2-0 NE-10. Assumption was opening its NE-10 schedule following three non-conference wins.
After Battista scored six during an opening 11-5 run, the visitors ran off seven straight, including a three-ball from senior guard Shannon Ray (Yonkers, N.Y.) to take its only lead of the night.
The lead lasted less than 15 seconds, until Falcon grad student Courtney Finn (Winthrop/ Winthrop HS) knocked down a three from the left corner with 12:41 left in the first. That launched a run of 11 unanswered that included another Finn three as well as one from junior guard Kelsey Mattice (Cicero, N.Y./Cicero North Syracuse HS).
After a pair of Greyhound baskets, Bentley broke the game open with a 20-2 explosion that featured eight points from freshman forward Jen Gemma (Milton/Fontbonne Academy) and made it a 42-18 game with three-and-a-half minutes left until intermission. Gemma drained a top-of-the-key three, scored on a put-back and converted a second-chance three-point play the traditional way.
Ahead 49-30 at the break, Bentley used a 13-3 burst early in the second to make it a commanding 31-point differential, 68-37, with just under 15 minutes left. Included in that run was a three-point play from senior forward Jacqui Brugliera (Fitchburg/ Wachusett Reg. HS) and treys from Finn and sophomore guard Jane White (Amherst, N.H./Souhegan HS).
Finn followed Battista in the scoring column with 14 points, and coach Barbara Stevens received double-digit efforts off the bench from White (11) and Gemma (10) while recording her 887th career victory. Finn came within a rebound of a double-double, White's night included three triples and two steals, and Gemma also helped out with six rebounds.
Ray carried the load for Assumption with her 26 points shattering her previous career best by 15. She made 11 of 20 shots overall, and was four of five from three-point land.
In addition to superior shooting, Bentley outrebounded the Hounds by nine, 38-29, and had a 23-10 advantage in points off turnovers. The Falcons turned their 12 offensive boards into an 18 second-chance points, outscoring Assumption by a dozen in that category.
Bentley will be on the road Saturday, playing at seventh-ranked Stonehill College at 1:30 pm.