SYRACUSE, N.Y. – A tough shooting afternoon for one team and the opposite for the other resulted in Le Moyne College dethroning the Bentley University Falcons, 67-45, in the 2019 Northeast-10 Conference Women's Basketball Championship Game Sunday afternoon on Ted Grant Court.
It was the first-ever NE10 crown for Le Moyne, now 24-5, and the 28-3 Falcons were denied in their bid for a record 21st title. It halted the 15-game winning streak for Bentley, which came in ranked number 12 in Division II.
Le Moyne will receive the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA East Regional while Bentley will almost assuredly garner an at-large berth when the field is announced tonight at 10 pm on www.NCAA.com.
It took Bentley about 34 minutes to knock down its only three-pointer of the game with the Falcons, the NE10 leader in three-point accuracy coming in, finishing just 1 of 20. On the other hand, Le Moyne was 9 of 16 from downtown and shot 73 percent from 15 feet in the contest. That included making nine in a row from 15 feet out to start the game.
Top scorers were sophomore guard Liz Maillet (Cooperstown, N.Y.), with four treys and 19 points for the Dolphins, and junior forward Monica Viapiano (Holden, Mass./Holy Name HS), with 15 points and eight rebounds off the bench for the Falcons. Both were among the five players named to the All-Tournament Team.
After two early baskets from senior center Victoria Lux (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy) gave Bentley an early 4-2 lead, Le Moyne embarked on a 14-4 spurt and never looked back.
It was 19-14 after the opening ten minutes with 12 of Bentley's 14 points coming in the paint, In contrast, Le Moyne was 6-of-6 from outside, including a pair of triples, and only 2-of-9 inside.
Viapiano opened the second quarter with her fourth inside basket of the game before Le Moyne ran off 10 unanswered, including threes from senior guard McKayla Roberts (North Syracuse, N.Y.), the championships' Most Outstanding Player, and freshman Jenna Zimmerman (Adams, N.Y.). That made it 29-16 and the Dolphins took a 38-23 lead into the half after scoring the final five, including a long three from Maillet.
During the half, Le Moyne shot 61.5 percent, including 8 of 11 in the second quarter, six of eight from three and 10 of 12 from 15 feet and beyond. Viapiano, with 13 points on 6 of 11 shooting, outscored all of her teammates by three.
Bentley, which was a plus-three with Viapiano in the game and minus-25 without her, never got closer than 15 in the second half. It was 52-30 after three and the fourth quarter deficit peaked at 24. In two losses to the Dolphins this season, the Falcons totaled 85 points.
Other than Viapiano, only senior guard Amy McConnell (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor HS) reached doubles for the Falcons. She finished with 11 on 5-of-11 shooting. Lux had seven and matched Viapiano with eight rebounds.
Maillet, one of four Dolphins to score at least ten, made four of seven from three. Senior Madison Purcell (Clifton Park, N.Y.) followed with 11 and five assists.
Le Moyne shot 53 percent overall while Bentley finished at just .356 and was only two of six at the line. Thirty-two of the Falcons points came in the paint, 14 more than Le Moyne had, and Bentley came up with 11 offensive rebounds for seven points. Overall, rebounds were even at 30.