Quartet of Veterans Power No. 1 Bentley to 15-0, 77-66 over No. 21 Adelphi

Christiana Bakolas
Christiana Bakolas

WALTHAM, Mass. – Senior All-America forward Lauren Battista (North Easton/Oliver Ames HS) scored 19 points, pulling her to within 43 of the all-time program record, and a trio of teammates, including senior point guard Christiana Bakolas (Manchester, N.H./Central HS), registered double-doubles as Bentley University stayed perfect with a 77-66 win over Adelphi University in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Wednesday night at the Dana Center.

Bakolas, who set career-bests with 16 points and 10 rebounds, was joined on the double-double list by senior forward Jacqui Brugliera (Fitchburg/Wachusett Reg. HS) and grad student Courtney Finn (Winthrop/Winthrop HS).

Bentley, the season-long number one team in the USA TODAY Sports/WBCA Division II coaches' poll, improved to 15-0 overall (10-0 in the NE-10) with coach Barbara Stevens notching her 897th career victory. Adelphi, which peaked at number 13 last week and is now 21st in the rankings, dropped its third straight to fall to 12-3 overall and 6-3 conference.

The Falcons, who took the lead for good at 12-11 when Finn drained a pair of free throws with 10:29 left in the opening half, outscored the Panthers 16-7 over the final 8:02 of the first to take a 10-point advantage in the break, 34-24. Six unanswered points, including four from freshman forward Jen Gemma (Milton/Fontbonne Academy), made it 24-17, and Bentley closed the half with 7-0 run, holding Adelphi scoreless for the final 3:15.

After five straight by the visitors made it a three-point game, Bentley embarked on a 9-0 burst to go up 57-45 with 8:27 to play. Bakolas launched the run with a three from the right corner and Brugliera netted the next six, the last two following offensive rebounds.

Adelphi, the conference's highest scoring team (85.1 to start the game), staged one more comeback bid, using a 7-0 run to draw to within six, 67-61, with 1:48 left.

Another Brugliera put-back restored the lead to eight with 1:17 left and Bentley closed out the win by making eight of eight free throws in the final 59 second, including four by Bakolas.

Battista, third on Bentley's all-time scoring list with 1,757 points, made 8 of 13 shots overall, including both her three-point attempts. After starting the season 1 for 12 from downtown, she's a perfect 5-of-5 outside the arc in the last two games. She also contributed seven rebounds, including five offensive.

Bakolas, in addition to the 16 points and 10 boards, provided five assists and a pair of steals. Brugliera finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds, and Finn's night included 13 points, 13 boards and two steals.

Adelphi senior guard Sade Jackson (Hackensack, N.J.) came within an assist of her fourth career triple-double, finishing with 20 points, ten rebounds and three steals. The Panthers also received 16 points and five rebounds from senior forward Jessica Kitrys (Parlin, N.J.).

Bentley struggled through its poorest shooting night of the year (.347 including an 0-for-10 to start), but dominated the boards (57-41) and at the line (24-11 in makes, 31-17 in attempts). The Falcons also had a major advantage in points off turnovers (20-7, including 14-0 first half) and outscored the Panthers 20-5 in second-chance points.

Adelphi, number two in Division II in field goal percentage at the start of the week (.494), was held well below that mark, finishing at .385, including just .276 percent in the first half.

Bentley will play its next two on the road, beginning Saturday afternoon at American International.