RINDGE, N.H. – Shooting .509 overall, 58 percent inside the arc and a sizzling 25 of 26 from the foul stripe, Franklin Pierce University snapped number 24 Bentley University's winning streak at eight with an 87-76 win in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action Saturday afternoon at the FPU Field House.
Senior Kara Charette (Fairhaven, Mass.) led five double-figure scorers for Franklin Pierce with 25 points while junior Jen Gemma (Milton, Mass./ Fontbonne Academy) tallied 21 for the Falcons.
Despite suffering just their second loss in their last 16 games, Bentley maintained its two-game lead in the NE-10's Northeast Division as their closest pursuer, Saint Anselm College, saw its winning streak halted at nine. Bentley dipped to 20-4 overall and 14-4 in the NE-10 while Franklin Pierce improved to 13-10 (10-8).
Bentley went into the halftime locker room down 5, 44-39, after giving up back-to-back 22-point quarters to the hot shooting Ravens. The home team shot 53 percent during the first 20 minutes to offset the Falcons 6-3 advantage in threes and 9-3 edge in free throws made.
Following ten lead changes in the opening quarter, the Ravens scored seven unanswered to start the second and later opened a 42-35 lead on the strength of an 8-4 run. The two All-Conference forwards, Charette and Gemma had 16 and 14 points, respectively.
Franklin Pierce, taking advantage of Bentley turnovers (four in the first three minutes), opened the third with a 7-2 spurt, including four by Charette, to go up ten at 51-41. Later in the quarter, seven unanswered by the home team made it a 15-point game, 60-45.
The fourth quarter saw the Falcons use an effective press to get back within six, 73-67, with 4:39 to play. The 6-0 run included two free throws by Gemma, a lay-up by sophomore guard Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward School) and a second-chance basket by freshman guard Megan Lewis (Sevenoaks, England).
Bentley sophomore guard Kristin Brown (Poulsbo, Wash./North Kitsap HS) scored with 54.5 seconds left to bring the Falcons within five but the Ravens closed out the upset victory by making six free throws in the final 27 seconds.
Gemma , in addition to 21 points, recorded eight rebounds and three assists. Lewis followed with 13, all but two coming in the final 4:30 of the opening quarter, and seven rebounds. Bentley also received a career-high 11 points off the bench from sophomore forward Cassie Smith (Edison, N.J./Metuchen HS), along with four assists and two steals.
Charette totaled her 25 on 11 of 16 shooting overall. Junior guard Jasmyne Fogle (Bridgeport, Conn.) followed with 19, and senior guard Natalie Bastian (Branford, Conn.) scored 14 for the Ravens.
While Franklin Pierce had a strong shooting day, Bentley finished at .394 overall and 8-24 from three. The Falcons were outrebounded, 39-30, and committed 15 turnovers, four less than Pierce.
Bentley will look to get back on track Wednesday when it hosts St. Michael's at 5:30 pm.