No. 23 New Haven Shoots Past Bentley, 78-54

Lauren Green
Lauren Green

WALTHAM, Mass. – Senior guard Aquillan Hayes (Harlem, N.Y.) scored 22 points in 23 foul-plagued minutes as the University of New Haven used 55 percent shooting and 22 second-chance points to roll past Bentley University, 78-54, in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Wednesday night at the Dana Center.

Bentley was led by sophomore post Jen Gemma (Milton/Fontbonne Academy) and freshman guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS), who combined for 33 of the Falcons' 54 points. Gemma finished with 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting and Green followed 15, along with three steals.

The differential stood at 22 at the half, 46-24, after the Chargers shot a blistering 65.6 percent over the first 20 minutes. Bentley, which lost two starters for the game in the opening two minutes, shot well early, hitting six of its first eight but was just four of 20 in the final 12:20 before intermission.

After a free throw by sophomore Brittany Gregory (Fishkill, N.Y./John Jay HS) gave the Falcons their final lead of the night, 15-14, New Haven ran off 11 unanswered, a surge capped by a three by junior guard Briana Bradford (Waterbury, Conn.), to go up ten.

With the spread at eight with 7:50 left in the first, the Chargers scored the next nine to extend the lead to 17, 36-19. That grew into a 19-5 run with New Haven having more threes during that stretch than Bentley had in total baskets.

Hayes led New Haven with 14 points in the opening half as she made seven of ten shots in just ten minutes of play.

A press-fueled 11-0 run got Bentley to within 13, 50-37, as the Falcons forced six turnovers in the first five minutes of the second. That flurry featured two triples and a steal by Green.

New Haven, ranked 23rd in the D2 media poll, regained control with a 10-2 run, pushing its lead back to 21, 60-39. The Falcons never got closer than 18 the rest of the night.

Hayes, who was 10 of 16 from the field, also helped out with seven rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal.

Three of her teammates joined her in doubles with junior guard Lauren Hebert (North Reading) scoring 11 off the bench, sophomore forward India Dodson (Akron, Ohio) ten on 5-of-5 shooting and six-foot-two senior Ashley LeBlanc (Methuen) ten.

Other than Gemma and Green, the only Falcons with more than three were senior guard Kelsey Mattice (Cicero, N.Y./Cicero North Syracuse HS) and freshman guard Cassie Smith (Edison, N.J./ Metuchen HS), each scoring six.

While New Haven was over 50 percent all night and four of seven from deep, Bentley's 33 percent included only 3 of 24 from three-point land. The Chargers controlled the boards, 48-31, with their 14 at the offensive end nearly matching Bentley's 17 defensive.

Bentley, which had won 21 straight against New Haven, dropped to 7-11 overall and 2-10 conference with its sixth straight loss. The Falcons don't play again until next Wednesday at Saint Rose.