6-1 Closing Run Gives Franklin Pierce 75-71 Win over Bentley

Macchi Smith
Macchi Smith

WALTHAM, Mass. – Franklin Pierce University closed with a 6-1 run over the last 70 seconds to edge Bentley University, 75-71, in a Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball game Tuesday night at the Dana Center that featured 14 lead changes, including nine in the second half.

Junior forward Kara Charrette (Fairhaven), one of five double-figure scorers for FPU and one of five in the game with 16 points, knocked down an 11-foot jumper in the paint with 25.8 seconds to break a 71-all tie and sealed the outcome with two free throws with :04.8 on the clock.

The Ravens moved into sole possession of first in the NE-10's Northeast Division, improving to 7-2 overall and 5-1 conference for a half-game lead over Assumption and Stonehill. Bentley dropped its third in a row to slip to 4-5 overall and 1-5 NE-10.

Bentley received 16 points apiece from sophomore forward Jen Gemma (Milton/Fontbonne Academy) and freshman guards Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward School) and Lauren Green (Damascus, Md.).

After trailing by as many as seven points, the Falcons had the momentum and a five-point lead heading into intermission following a 6-0 run over the final two minutes. Gemma hit a couple lay-ups and Smith connected on a runner in the lane just before the buzzer to make it 35-30.

With Bentley still up five two-and-a-half minutes into the second, Franklin Pierce embarked on a 7-1 run, capped by a corner three from freshman guard Jemma Thacker (Aldgate, Australia), to regain the lead at 44-43.

Bentley countered with a 9-2 spurt that included a pair of Smith baskets, and the lead was restored to six (52-46), matching the Falcons' biggest of the night.

Six unanswered points by the Ravens gave the visitors the lead back at 59-57, and there would be six more lead changes before the final horn sounded.

Sophomore forward Brittany Gregory (Fishkill, N.Y./John Jay HS) gave Bentley its final lead of the game, 70-69 with 1:30 to play, but Franklin Pierce answered right back with a driving lay-up from junior guard Dyamond Gardner (Cambridge).

Gemma tied the game by knocking down one of two free throws with 41.8 seconds to play. After the timeout, FPU got the ball to Charette and the conference's second-leading scorer provided what proved to be the game-winning points.

Gemma missed a wild shot with about eight seconds to play with the ball going out of bounds to the Ravens. Bentley had only three fouls at the time and had to foul four times before Charette went to the stripe for her clinching free throws.

Smith, in addition to 16 points on 7 of 13 shooting, finished with seven rebounds, six assists and two steals.  Green also provided five rebounds, two assists and two steals, and Gemma's stat line included seven rebounds, two blocks and two assists. Gregory led Bentley on the boards with 12 rebounds to go along with six points.

Charette made 7 of 10 shots and Thacker buried four of nine from three-point land to lead Franklin Pierce.

Franklin Pierce shot 50 percent overall, including 24 of 40 (.600) inside the three-point line. The Falcons shot 44 percent overall and controlled the boards, 42-33. Both teams struggled from the foul line with Bentley missing eight of 17 and the Ravens just one of seven before Charette's clinchers.

Bentley will be back in action on Sunday with a 1:00 non-conference game against Holy Family University.