EASTON, Mass. – Senior All-America forward Jen Gemma (Milton/Fontbonne Academy) scored 25 points, including seven during a game-ending 11-4 run, as Bentley University improved to 7-0 in conference play with a 56-49 win over Stonehill College in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Saturday afternoon at Merkert Gymnasium.
Bentley, ranked 14th in the WBCA Division II coaches poll, improved to 9-2 overall with its fourth straight win and now leads the Northeast Division of the NE10 by three games. Stonehill fell to 5-5 overall and 4-3 NE10.
After trailing almost the entire game, Stonehill used a three-pointer from junior guard Courtney Walsh (Windham, N.H.) and an inside basket from sophomore Nicole Rojas (Cromwell, Conn.) to tie the game at 45-all with 3:50 left.
Following a timeout, Bentley went inside to junior guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./ Damascus HS) with her basket putting the Falcons back in front with 3:29 to play. Gemma followed with an elbow jumper, making it 49-45 with 2:40 left.
Stonehill twice got back within two, the second time on a driving lay-up by junior Elizabeth Grip (Shrewsbury) with 1:41 left. It stayed at 51-49 for more than a minute, until a third-chance basket by senior forward Parker Gregory (Fishkill, N.J./John Jay HS) with 28.4 on the clock again made it a two-possession game.
Gemma came up with a steal at the defensive end and made three of four from the line in the final 19 seconds to lock up the victory.
Points were scarce for most of a first half that ended with Bentley holding on to a 22-21 lead. The Falcons scored the first eight points and held Stonehill without a field goal for more than ten minutes at one point, but saw three Skyhawk threes late in the second quarter erase almost all of a 10-point lead.
Stonehill's only lead of the game came on the opening basket of the third quarter, a lay-up by junior forward Samantha Hyslip (Westford). Bentley answered with a 14-6 run, launched by a three-ball from the right corner by Green, and had a 36-29 lead with 4:55 left in the stanza.
The Falcon advantage stood at 39-35 after three and the two teams were never separated by more than five again until the game's final three seconds.
Gemma, who pushed her career point total to 1,757 points and moved into fourth in career rebounds with 876, finished 11 of 19 from the field and also had eight rebounds, a steal and a block. It was her second straight game with at least 25 after she netted a season-high 26 Wednesday against St. Michael's.
Green, with ten points and five rebounds, was the only other Falcon to score more than five points.
For Stonehill, Hyslip led the way with 20 points, six rebounds and two steals on 8-of-14 shooting.
Bentley outshot the home team, 40-35 percent, and finished with a plus-nine rebounding margin, 40-31. Turnovers were about the same (Bentley 17, Stonehill 16) but the Falcons were the team to capitalize with an 18-7 advantage in points off turns.
After playing eight of its first 11 on the road, Bentley will embark on a four-game homestand on Sunday, Dec. 18 against LIU Post.