WALTHAM, Mass. – Senior All-America forward Jen Gemma (Milton/Fontbonne Academy) erupted for a season-high 26 points in only 25 minutes and sophomore guard Amy McConnell (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor HS) led a strong effort off the bench as Bentley University improved to 6-0 in conference play with an 80-59 win over St. Michael's College in Northeast-10 women's basketball Wednesday night at the Dana Center.
Bentley, ranked 14th in the latest WBCA Division II coaches' poll, improved to 8-2 overall with its third straight win overall and 14th consecutive at home. St. Michael's dropped to 3-3 in conference play and 3-5 overall.
Bentley went into the halftime intermission with a 41-33 lead, due in large part of 15 points from Gemma and the same number of points from the bench, including eight from McConnell. The Falcons opened it up with a closing 12-5 run that featured two baskets and a drawn charge by Gemma, as well as three-pointers launched by junior guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS) and McConnell.
Bentley shot a sizzling 67 percent in the second quarter, making ten of 15 shots including the final five.
In the third, the Falcons used an early 12-2 run to double its halftime lead, making it 53-37 with 5:30 remaining. Gemma was again instrumental with six points and her second drawn charge of the contest.
A baseline jumper by senior forward Parker Gregory (Fishkill, N.Y./John Jay HS) just before the third quarter horn sounded sent the Falcons into the final stanza up 20, 61-41. During the third, Bentley limited the Purple Knights to just 3 for 14 shooting while outscoring the visitors 20-8.
Five straight points by Gemma early in the fourth completed her work for the night and stretched the lead to 22, 66-44, with 8:36 remaining. It never dipped below 19 the rest of the way.
Gemma's 26 points boosted her career total to 1,732 and sent her past Danielle Chaisson '98 into fourth on Bentley's all-time scoring list. She made 10 of 17 from the floor and also had six rebounds and three assists.
Bentley's bench finished with a 31-17 advantage with McConnell playing a key role. She tied her career-high with 12 points and also had six rebounds and two assists.
Green was Bentley's third double-figure scorer, with 10 points and five rebounds, and junior guard Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward School) added nine points, three assists and three rebounds.
Junior forward Tomi Akinpetide (Sydney, Australia) led St. Michael's with 13 points.
Bentley outshot the Purple Knights 49-36 percent, made 11 more free throws (20-9) and dominated the boards (47-29). Also favoring the Falcons were points in the paint (42-24) and second-chance points (14-4).
Bentley is back in action Saturday with a 1:30 pm game at Stonehill College.