Finn & Battista Each Score 16 as No. 1 Bentley Improves to 12-0, 72-42 over Bridgeport

Courtney Finn
Courtney Finn

WALTHAM, Mass. – All-Region grad student Courtney Finn (Winthrop/Winthrop HS) finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds for her second double-double of the year, and senior All-America forward Lauren Battista (North Easton/Oliver Ames HS) matched her in the scoring column, as Bentley University returned from a holiday break to post a 72-42 win over the University of Bridgeport in non-conference women's basketball Friday night at the Dana Center.

Bentley, the season-long number one in the USA TODAY Sports/WBCA Division II coaches poll, improved to 12-0 with the victory the 894th career for coach Barbara Stevens. Bridgeport slipped to 3-8 overall after being held to 21 percent shooting and outscored 38-14 in the paint.

Battista and senior All-Conference forward Jacqui Brugliera (Fitchburg/Oliver Ames HS) powered Bentley during the first half, which ended with the Falcons owning a commanding 43-15 lead. Battista made six of seven shots for 12 points before intermission and Brugliera scored nine of her 11 points in the first 10:40.

The opening half featured a 36-9 Falcon explosion, spanning a stretch of about 15 minutes and putting Bentley up 28 at 41-13. Included were mini-runs of 7-0, 13-3 and 16-1.  

The 7-0 run, which made it a 12-4 game, was bookended by a pair of Battista lay-ups, with a Brugliera three from the left corner sandwiched in between. Brugliera and senior point guard Christiana Bakolas (Manchester, N.H./Central HS) each had four points during the 13-3 burst, and Battista netted six during the 16-1 spurt.

In the second half, Bentley outscored the Purple Knights 19-4 over a stretch of 6:10 to claim a 43-point lead at 65-22, with 11:31 to play. Finn, Battista and freshman forward Jen Gemma (Milton/ Fontbonne Academy) each provided four during that run.

Battista, who finished six-of-seven from the floor, moved past Kim Brennan '11 into fifth on Bentley's all-time scoring list with her total of 1,699 putting her 101 shy of the school record. Finn's rebound total was a season-best and she also provided three assists and two steals.

Also scoring in doubles for the Falcons was junior guard Kelsey Mattice (Cicero, N.Y./ Cicero North Syracuse HS), with 10 points, along with three rebounds and two assists. Gemma scored only six points in her 18 minutes off the bench, but gave her team eight rebounds and two blocks, and Bakolas finished with seven assists and only one turn.

Junior guard Tiara Aziz (Easton, Pa.) was the only Bridgeport player to score more than seven. She finished with 15, including 12 of her team's 15 first-half points.

Bentley finished with a .433 field goal percentage, including .516 before intermission, and dominated the boards, 48-32.

Bentley will return to Northeast-10 Conference action Wednesday with a 5 pm game at Le Moyne College.