MANCHESTER, N.H. – Junior guard Candace Andrews (Boston, Mass.) scored 19 of her 23 points in the second half and six-foot-five freshman Samnell Vonleh (Swampscott, Mass.) blocked seven shots as Saint Anselm College outscored Bentley University 31-14 over the last 14 minutes to post a 65-57 victory in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Saturday afternoon at Stoutenburgh Gym.
Bentley, the top ranked team in the NCAA Division II East Region, dropped to 21-5 overall and 15-5 in the NE-10. The Falcons had already clinched the NE-10's Northeast Division title and top seed in the upcoming conference championships. Saint Anselm, number four in the region and second in the division, improved to 17-8 overall and 13-7 NE-10.
Spoiled with the loss was a career game by Bentley freshman post Victoria Lux (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy), who finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds, both her highs as a collegian.
Bentley emerged from a turnover-filled first half with a 26-25 lead despite shooting just .286 from the floor. The Falcons scored the game's first seven points and led 17-8 after one, but were outscored 17-9 in the second.
Lux led the Falcons during the first 20 minutes, with 11 points and seven rebounds. Included was her first career three, a turn-around from the top of the key to beat the first quarter buzzer.
Midway through the third, after falling behind by four, the Falcons ran off 13 unanswered to claim a 43-34 lead with 4:33 left. Junior Alll-Conference forward Jen Gemma (Milton, Mass./Fontbonne Academy) accounted for seven of the 13 and Lux had a pair of lay-ups.
It would be more than nine minutes before Bentley scored again from the field, a lengthy dry spell that enabled Saint Anselm to grab a 49-48 lead. Freshman guard Megan Lewis (Sevenoaks, England) put the Falcons back on top briefly with a reverse lay-up, but the Hawks more than answered with 11 unanswered for a 60-50 lead with 1:08 to play.
Lewis scored seven for the Falcons in the final minute, including a pair of threes, but the Hawks cemented the victory by making five of six free throws.
Lux, Gemma and Lewis accounted for all but seven of Bentley's points, with the rest of the team just 2 of 16 from the floor. Gemma struggled to an 18-point, six-rebound game, and Lewis finished with 12, along with four assists and five rebounds.
Andrews achieved her 23 on 7-of-12 shooting and 9-of-10 from the foul stripe, and she also helped her team with three assists and two steals. Junior guard Caitlyn Abela (North Easton, Mass.) was Saint Anselm's other double-figure scorer with 15 points.
Bentley, which misfired on 21 of its final 24 field goal attempts, was just 14 of 53 inside the arc as the Hawk defense came up with 11 blocked shots. Saint Anselm attempted 25 less shots than the Falcons (just 47), but both teams made 21 field goals as the Hawks connected at a 44.7 percent clip. The home team also had the edge at the line, 17-8.
Bentley controlled the boards, 43-37, including 18 offensive, and forced 23 turnovers, five more than the Falcons committed.
Bentley will finish the regular season Tuesday at home against Merrimack and will host a quarterfinal NE-10 tournament game a week from Sunday.