WALTHAM, Mass. – Senior forward Tori Faieta (Lynn) and junior guard Paige Marshall (Braintree) combined to make 19 of 26 shots as Stonehill College spoiled Bentley University's first home game since winning the NCAA Division II national championship last March, 81-67, in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Saturday afternoon.
Faieta finished 25 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks on 11-of-15 shooting, and Marshall hit eight of 11 en route to a 21-point, four-steal effort. Sophomore forward Jen Gemma (Milton/ Fontbonne Academy) led Bentley with 16 points and 11 rebounds, her fourth double-double in as many games.
Before the 99th meeting between the two programs, a ceremony was held to unveil the 2014 national championship banner.
Inspired by the large crowd on hand to witness the event, Bentley started strong at the offensive end, shooting 57 percent over the first ten minutes to open a 24-18 lead. Freshman guard Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward School) provided an early lift off the bench, scoring seven points during that stretch.
Stonehill ran off the next eight to take the lead and Bentley sophomore forward Brittany Gregory (Fishkill, N.Y./John Jay HS) followed with a put-back to even the game for the final time, 26-26, with a little more than seven minutes left.
That proved to be the Falcons' final field goal of the first half, a dry spell that enabled the Skyhawks to take a 38-30 lead into the break. During that span, Bentley missed seven shots from the field and committed six of its 13 turnovers.
An 8-0 run that featured two three-pointers by senior guard Amy Pelletier (Beverly) enabled the visitors to extend the lead to 16, 59-43 with 12:54 left.
Bentley closed to within ten, 65-55, when junior guard Jane White (Amherst, N.H./Souhegan HS) sank a triple with 8:54 left. Stonehill answered with a clinching 12-2 burst, making it a commanding 20-point lead, 77-57, with 4:41 left.
Gemma was followed on the scoring list by a trio of freshmen. Guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS) had a career-best 14 points, and both Smith and freshman forward Trevena Bennett (Union, N.J./Gill St. Bernard's School) finished with 11. Smith's line also included six rebounds and five assists.
Stonehill shot an impressive 55 percent overall and hit 10 of 24 from three-point land. Bentley, after the solid shooting start, finished at .381 with five three-pointers in 13 attempts.
The loss snapped an 18-game home winning streak for the Falcons and gave Bentley (2-2, 0-2 NE-10) consecutive losses for the first time since March 2010. Stonehill improved to 4-0 overall, including 2-0 in the conference.
Bentley returns to action Tuesday night with a 5:30 game at Southern New Hampshire.