WALTHAM, Mass. -- Freshman forwards Jacqui Brugliera (Fitchburg/Wachusett Reg. HS) and Lauren Battista (North Easton/Oliver Ames HS) combined for 29 points, 16 rebounds and seven steals as Bentley University, the 17th-ranked team in Division II, registered a 75-57 win over Saint Michael's College in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Saturday afternoon at the Dana Center.
Brugliera scored a game-high 17 points, the fifth straight game that she has had at least that many, and also provided nine rebounds and two steals. Battista filled the stat sheet with 12 points, seven rebounds, five steals and a couple assists.
The victory boosted the Falcons to 18-3 overall (15-2 NE-10) and kept coach Barbara Stevens' team alone at the top of the conference. The top-ranked team in the NCAA Division II East Region maintained a one-game lead over Franklin Pierce, a 58-57 winner at Southern New Hampshire, but stretched their advantage over Assumption, which entered the day tied for second, to two after the Greyhounds were blasted at Pace, 75-37.
Bentley fell behind early after a 9-0 Saint Michael's spurt, but countered that by scoring the game's next dozen points to go up 17-9. Junior guard Katherine Goodwin (Goffstown, N.H./Governor's Academy) had the first five points of that run and it also included four by Brugliera.
That 12-0 burst grew into a larger 27-6 explosion that extended the Falcon advantage to 19 at 36-17. A late 10-2 Purple Knight spurt reduced the spread to 11 before a three-ball from Bentley junior guard Meghan Thomann (Andover/Andover HS) closed out the first-half scoring and sent the Falcons into the break on top 14, 41-27.
An 11-4 second-half run gave Bentley its biggest lead of the afternoon, 60-38 with 11:39 left. Junior forward Shatasia Kearse (Framingham/Lincoln-Sudbury Reg. HS) played a role in that one with four points.
The Falcons managed only two points over the next eight minutes, the dry spell allowing the visiting Purple Knights to whittle the Bentley lead down to eight, 62-54, with four minutes still to play.
Brugliera quieted the comeback bid of the Purple Knights by making a pair of free throws with 3:32 left, seconds after grabbing an offensive rebound. On the Falcons' next possession, she beat the 30-second buzzer by hitting an eight-footer in the lane that restored the advantage to 12.
After a St. Michael's three, Bentley closed the game with nine unanswered points, a closing run that included five points from senior guard Kim Brennan (Locust Valley, N.Y./Locust Valley HS) and two Brugliera free throws.
Goodwin, who had the hot hand early, was the Falcons' third double-figure scorer as she finished with 11. Brennan and Thomann each contributed nine, and Kearse chipped in with eight.
St. Michael's (10-9, 8-8 NE-10) was led by six-foot senior Logan Pintka (Schenectady, N.Y.), with 15 points, five boards and three blocks.
Bentley outshot the Knights, 41-36 percent, and also had the edge in three-pointers (7-3), free throws (22-20) and points off turnovers (22-12). St. Michael's lost the ball 22 times, eight more than the Falcons.
Bentley will conclude a stretch of three games in six days Tuesday night at Saint Anselm College.
At Waltham, Mass. (Dana Center)
BENTLEY 75, SAINT MICHAEL'S 57
SAINT MICHAEL'S (10-9, 8-8 NE-10) -- Logan Pintka 4-13 7-8 15; Cara Deroy 3-7 1-1 8; Nicole Adach 3-5 2-2 8; Megan Olsen 1-3 2-2 5; Caitlin Quinn 1-2 2-2 5; Alexa Long 2-4 1-2 5; Marilyn Ferreira 1-3 2-2 4; Mandy Scott 2-8 0-1 4; Coreen Hennessy 0-2 3-4 3; Samantha Steinmetz 0-0 0-0 0; Kayla Carnell 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-47 20-24 57.
BENTLEY (18-3, 15-2 NE-10) -- Jacqui Brugliera 4-12 8-11 17; Lauren Battista 5-11 2-2 12; Katherine Goodwin 4-11 1-2 11; Meghan Thomann 2-5 3-3 9; Kim Brennan 2-9 4-5 9; Shatasia Kearse 3-4 2-4 8; Courtney Finn 1-2 2-3 5; Christiana Bakolas 1-1 0-1 2; Kelsey Roberson 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 23-56 22-31 75.
Halftime: B 41-27; 3-point goals--SM 3-10 (Quinn 1-2; Deroy 1-2; Olsen 1-2; Ferreira 0-1; Scott 0-3), Bentley 7-18 (Goodwin 2-6; Thomann 2-5; Brugliera 1-2; Brennan 1-3; Finn 1-2). Fouled out-- Adach. Rebounds--SM 36 (Adach 6), B 34 (Brugliera 9). Assists--SM 10 (Ferreira 4), B 14 (Brennan 5). Total fouls--SM 20, B 19. Technical fouls-- None.