WEST HAVEN, Conn. – Win number 999 is in the books for legendary Bentley University women's basketball coach Barbara Stevens after her team used a dominating fourth quarter to overtake the University of New Haven, 82-70, in Northeast-10 Conference action Saturday afternoon at Charger Gymnasium.
Stevens will now make her first attempt at joining women's basketball coaching titans Pat Summitt, Tara VanDerveer, Sylvia Hatchell and Geno Auriemma in the exclusive club of 1,000-game winners when her Falcons, seventh ranked in Division II with a 16-1 record, host Adelphi University Wednesday at 5:30 pm.
Stevens' team trailed a hot-shooting New Haven team most of the opening three quarters but simply took over the fourth at both ends of the court. The Falcons, after finishing the third with a three-point play from junior center Victoria Lux (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy) to get within 64-60, poured in the first 18 of the fourth.
The fourth-quarter explosion began with a pair of inside baskets by Lux – Bentley's top scorer (22) and rebounder (13) – tying the game at 64 apiece. Freshman forward Marissa Fontaine (Franklin, Mass./ Bishop Feehan HS) drilled a straight-ahead three for the lead, graduate guard Becca Musgrove (Plainview, N.Y./St. Anthony's HS) knocked down a baseline jumper and Fontaine again connected from three, her third triple of the game, after blocking a shot at the other end.
The run continued with a lay-up by sophomore forward Monica Viapiano (Holden, Mass./Holy Name HS), two free throws by Viapiano and a 15-foot jumper by Musgrove. That made it a 14-point game, 78-64, with the clock down to 2:46.
New Haven, which had shot a sizzling 61 percent through three, could never get it going against the Falcon D in the fourth with 11 missed shots and three turnovers on its first 14 possessions. By the time they ended the 21-0 run on a lay-up by senior forward Khayla Trowell, the Chargers had been stuck on 64 for more than eight minutes.
Bentley, 9-1 NE10 after winning their eighth straight, started quick, taking advantage of New Haven turns to score the game's first eight points. However, after an opening stanza in which the home team buried 9 of 13 shots, the Falcons were on the short end of a 24-20 score.
Stevens' team went into the break down one, 39-38, following a closing 7-0 burst capped by a lay-up from senior guard Trevena Bennett (Union, N.J./Gill St. Bernard School) off a steal by classmate Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward School).
There were a handful of lead changes in the opening minutes of the third before New Haven twice went back up by eight, including 59-51 with 2:23 left.
Lux, who had three steals and two blocks in addition to her eighth double-double, was joined in double figures by a trio of teammates. Musgrove made six of nine from the floor during a 15-point afternoon, Fontaine provided a dozen off the bench and her total was matched by Viapiano, who was five-of-seven overall.
New Haven was powered by junior guard Alexandria Kerr, with 27 points, six rebounds and five assists. She had 25 on 9-of-12 shooting through three before being limited to one basket in five attempts in the fourth.
Bentley, 16 of 27 from the floor after intermission, wound up outshooting the Chargers (7-8, 3-7 NE10) 51-50 percent and outrebounded the home team at both ends. Rebounds finished at 39-24 with the Falcons grabbing more offensive boards (17) than New Haven had defensive (15).