Sizzling Shooting Sends Le Moyne Past Bentley, 97-80; Gemma & Green Combine for 49 for Falcons

Jen Gemma
Jen Gemma

WALTHAM, Mass. – With three players scoring at least 20, Le Moyne College shot .655 overall, including an absurd .767 in the first half, during a 97-80 wire-to-wire win over Bentley University in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Wednesday night at the Dana Center.

Senior forward Tessa Pucello (Syracuse, N.Y.) led the Dolphins, coming off the bench to bury five three-pointers for 24 points, more than triple her season-norm. The visitors also received 22 apiece from junior forward Vandell Andrade (Cranston, R.I.) and senior guard Alex Marple (Covington, Pa.). Combined, those three made an incredible 28 of 39 shots.

Bentley (7-7, 2-6 NE-10) also had a couple hot shooters with sophomore forward Jen Gemma (Milton/Fontbonne Academy) and freshman guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS) combining for 49 points on 19-of-27 shooting. Gemma, the NE-10's leading scorer, put up 26 points in as many minutes and Green poured in a career-best 23.

The Falcon defense never had an answer for the Dolphins (9-5, 3-4 NE-10), who hit 10 of their first 12 shots to vault out to a 22-12 lead nine minutes into the game.

After a three-ball from Bentley senior guard Kelsey Mattice (Cicero, N.Y./Cicero North Syracuse HS) brought her team within four at 28-24, Le Moyne ran off nine unanswered to open a ten-point advantage, 34-24 with 6:26 to play.

By intermission, the Le Moyne lead had grown to 17 with the Dolphins' 58 points matching the most ever allowed by the Falcons in a half. The visitors made 23 of 30 during the opening 20 minutes, including five of eight from deep. Pucello led the assault from outside, hitting three triples in the final 3:30.

Bentley looked like it might climb back into the contest twice in the second half, but each time Le Moyne more than countered.  A 9-2 Falcon burst to start the second half was followed by an 11-2 Dolphin run, making it 71-52 with 13:44 to play.

Gemma scored six during a 12-2 Bentley run that brought Coach Barbara Stevens' team within nine with nine to play, 75-66.  Pucello answered with back-to-back threes from the left side, igniting a 14-2 blast that made it 89-68 with 5:51 left.

Gemma finished 11 of 16 overall and also provided eight rebounds, two assists and two steals. Green was on target for 8 of 11 shots and was perfect on her six attempts from the free throw stripe.

Bentley also received nine points from junior guard Jane White (Amherst, N.H./Souhegan HS), eight points and six assists from Mattice, and a career-best eight points from freshman guard Cassie Smith (Edison, N.J./Metuchen HS).

Andrade and Pucello both connected on 9 of 12 shots, with Pucello five of eight from outside the arc. Marple's night saw her make 10 of 15 shots.

Le Moyne controlled the boards, 33-26, and scored an amazing 54 points in the paint, 30 more than the Falcons. Bentley also gave up 25 points off 15 turnovers.

Bentley will look to end a two-game slide Saturday with a 1:30 game at Southern Connecticut State.