PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – Senior All-Conference forward Jacqui Brugliera (Fitchburg, Mass./ Wachusett Reg. HS) powered her way to 22 points, including 14 free throws in a school record 20 attempts, as undefeated Bentley University reached the 20-win milestone for the 29th time in 31 years with a 60-45 win over Pace University in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball at the Goldstein Fitness Center Saturday afternoon.
Bentley, the season-long number one in the USA TODAY Sports/WBCA Division II coaches poll, improved to 20-0 overall and 15-0 in the Northeast-10 with its first win at Pace since 2007. The Falcons continue to lead the NE-10's Northeast Division by four games over Stonehill.
On top by one at the break, Bentley rode the inside game of Brugliera to string together a 17-1 run over the first 9:50 of the second half. The six-footer had 12 of the points and single-handedly drew seven fouls during that stretch, helping the Falcons open a 45-28 lead. Twelve of her free throws came in the first 9:09 of the second and she also stepped in to take a charge at the defensive end.
After Pace hit its first field goal of the second nearly ten minutes in, Bentley netted the next eight points, a run started by a traditional three-point play by Brugliera, to open a commanding 53-30 lead with seven-and-a-half minutes to play. The Setters were just 1-of-12 with nine turnovers during the first 12:30 of the second.
Bentley went into the break with its lowest first-half point total and slimmest halftime lead of the year, 28-27, after Pace junior guard Jeane Drury (Flanders, N.J.) grabbed the loose ball from a blocked Setter three by Bentley grad student Courtney Finn (Winthrop, Mass./Winthrop HS) and threw in a buzzer-beating three-pointer.
It was a miserable offensive half for the Falcons, who managed only 13 points over the final 14:40 after vaulting out to a 15-6 lead. Bentley shot only 28 percent, including just 2 of 11 from downtown, and was outrebounded by seven. Pace gave the ball away 11 times, but the visitors were only able to convert those into six points.
Brugliera, who achieved her 22 points in 25 minutes of action, broke the school record of 19 free throw attempts set by Kim Cummings in 1996 and matched by Finn last year. She also finished with eight rebounds, a steal and a block.
Senior All-America forward Lauren Battista (North Easton, Mass./Oliver Ames HS) was the only other Falcon in double figures as the program's all-time leading scorer added 14 to her total, along with four rebounds, four assists and four steals. Finn (6 points) had a team-high nine rebounds and also led the Falcons in assists with five.
Junior Shanice Maynard topped the scoring list for Pace, which dropped to 4-16 overall and 3-11 NE-10. She finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Bentley, which scored less than 71 for the first time this season, shot only 34 percent and made just 2 of 16 from three-point land. The Falcons bounced back in the second half to rebound the rebounding battle, 44-39, and outscored the home team 20-5 at the charity stripe. Pace finished at .327 overall and had more turnovers (22) than field goals (18).
Bentley is back in action Wednesday night when it visits Assumption College for a 5:30 pm game.