WALTHAM, Mass. – Junior All-America forward Lauren Battista (North Easton/Oliver Ames HS) and senior All-Northeast-10 guard Courtney Finn (Winthrop/Winthrop HS) each scored 16 points as Bentley University, the number two-ranked team in Division II, remained undefeated with an 82-61 non-conference win over LIU Post in women's basketball action at the Dana Center Sunday afternoon.
Bentley enters its two-week holiday break at 9-0 after extending its winning streak against East Region opposition to 22 and stretching its string of home victories to 15. The loss was just the second of the season for the Pioneers, who came into the Dana Center with a 5-1 record.
This one was decided during a 12-minute span surrounding intermission in which the Falcons used a crushing 34-4 blow to open a commanding 66-29 lead with a little more than 12 minutes left.
It began with Bentley doubling its lead over the final 3:03 of the first half, outscoring the Pioneers 9-2 to go into the locker room up 14, 41-27. Included was the first of a season-high four three-pointers by senior guard and two-time co-captain Kelsey Roberson (Arlington/Arlington Catholic HS).
The second half saw the Falcons put together runs of 13-0 and 12-0 during the first eight minutes, with the two separated by the Pioneers' only basket over that span. Finn and junior guard Christiana Bakolas (Manchester, N.H./Central HS) each had four points as part of the initial burst of the second half, and Finn had four more during the 12-0 spurt that removed any doubt about the outcome, with the exception of the final score.
Finn also contributed four during a quick 8-0 run in the first half that broke a 14-all tie and put the Falcons in front for good.
Bentley, which shot about 60 percent from the field for much of the afternoon before finishing at a season-best .545, did the bulk of its scoring inside with 44 points in the paint, including 28 of 41 in the first half (and 24 of the first 30).
Finn made all six of her shots include the three-point line and also contributed a team-best seven rebounds. Battista, who moved from 21st to 18th on Bentley's all-time scoring list, connected on seven of her 12 shots, and Roberson's four threes, in only five attempts, resulted in a dozen points. Bakolas, Bentley's fourth double-figure scorer, finished with 10 points, four assists, four rebounds, three steals and only one turnover in a solid all-around game.
LIU Post junior guard Alexis Peters (Dorchester) led all scorers with 20 points, a total evenly split between the first and second halves.
Bentley limited the visitors to just 36 percent shooting and forced 20 turnovers, a dozen of those coming during the 34-4 explosion. In the second half, each of the Pioneers' first five possessions ended with a turnover.
Bentley's next game is Dec. 30 at Bridgeport, and the next home contest won't be until Jan. 5 when Saint Anselm visits the Dana Center.