PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – A school record-equaling 15-point second quarter by sophomore guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS) and a 10-point third quarter from classmate Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward School) propelled Bentley University to a 68-54 win over Pace University in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Wednesday evening at the Goldstein Fitness Center.
Bentley, which trailed by as many as 14 in the second quarter before Green caught fire, outscored the Setters 46-19 over the final 24 minutes to notch its eighth win in its last nine games.
The victory boosted the Falcons to 14-3 overall (8-3 NE-10) and kept coach Barbara Stevens' team alone at the top of the NE-10 Northeast Division standings. Pace dropped to 10-9 overall and 5-6 in conference play.
After trailing by as many as 14 points in the second quarter, Bentley took a 37-35 lead into the halftime locker room as the result of the Green-fueled 15-0 run over the final 4:40. She tied the Falcon quarter record for points, putting up 15 without missing shot. In that frame, Green was six of six with one from downtown and a pair of traditional three-point plays.
During the closing explosion, Green hit a 17-pointer, scored on a drive and buried a top-of-the-key three. Junior center Melina Kollia (Athens, Greece) followed with an inside basket, senior co-captain Jane White (Amherst, N.H./Souhegan HS) connected on a triple from the right corner, Green was fouled while hitting a mid-range jumper and she completed the three-point play with the free throw.
Bentley's strong finish came after a ridiculous shooting exhibition by Pace during the first 15-plus minutes. The Setters made 15 of their first 22, including three triples, to claim a 35-22 lead. Meanwhile, the Falcons shot just 33 percent in the first but were within three after one, 18-15, on the strength of two three-pointers from freshman guard Amy McConnell (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor HS) in the final 45 seconds.
After Pace regained the lead early in the third (40-38 with 8:37 to play), Smith went to work, scoring eight during a 10-0 burst that gave the Falcons the lead for good. She nailed two free throws, junior All-Conference forward Jen Gemma (Milton, Mass./Fontbonne Academy) did the same to put Bentley up 42-40 and Smith connected twice from downtown.
With the home team within five with a little more than a minute left in the third, Bentley scored 14 of the game's next 15 points to open it up. Gemma, freshman guard Megan Lewis (Sevenoaks, England) and freshman forward Victoria Lux (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy) each scored four during the run launched by Smith's ninth and tenth points of the third.
That made it a 65-47 game with 3:52 to play and the Falcons coasted to Stevens' 942nd career win.
Green led all scorers with 15 points and both Smith (3 steals) and Gemma finished with 10. McConnell added nine off the bench, Lux had eight points and five boards, and Lewis provided seven points, 11 rebounds, three steals, two assists and a block.
Sophomore guard Gabriella Rubin (Staten Island, N.Y.), who had the hot hand early, led Pace with 14 and six-five junior Kirsten Dodge (Fabius, N.Y.) added 13 points and nine blocked shots.
Pace shot better, 44-38 percent, but Bentley made twice as many three-pointers (8-4), four more free throws (10-6), controlled the boards (40-29), outscored the Setters 14-2 on second-chance points and committed seven fewer turnovers (12-19).
Bentley will be back in the Empire State Saturday for a noon contest at Le Moyne College.