WALTHAM, Mass. – Senior guard Courtney Finn (Winthrop/Winthrop HS) and junior All-America forward Lauren Battista (North Easton/Oliver Ames HS) each scored 17 points and were a combined 15-of-19 from the floor as undefeated Bentley University jumped out to a 10-0 lead and cruised to an 85-51 win over Le Moyne College in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Tuesday night at the Dana Center.
Bentley, which has held the number two position in Division II since the preseason, extended its regional win streak to 31 and its home court streak to 20 while improving to 18-0, including 14-0 in the NE-10. It matches the 1997-98 team for the program's best start in the last 20 years. Le Moyne dropped to 5-13 overall and 3-11 in the conference while falling to the Falcons for the 14th consecutive time.
It was a blistering start for the Falcons, who were on top 18-2 before the game was five minutes old after hitting eight of their first ten shots. Battista made four early lay-ups during that stretch, and both Finn and junior forward Jacqui Brugliera (Fitchburg/Wachusett Reg. HS) dropped in a three-ball.
The Bentley lead hit 20 for the first time on a lay-up by sophomore forward Carlene Kluge (Reading/Reading HS) that made it a 34-13 game with 7:46 left until intermission. That was the Falcons' 14th field goal in 18 attempts, a blistering 78 percent success rate.
The shooting percentage dipped to 64 percent by the break, with Bentley taking a 45-22 lead into the locker room. Nine different Falcons cracked the scoring column in the opening half with Battista leading the way with 11. She made her first five shot attempts, giving her a string of 12 straight against the Dolphins dating back to her freshman season.
After Le Moyne opened the second by scoring the first five points, Bentley blew the game wide open with 16 unanswered making it 61-27 with 13:20 to play. Finn, with eight points, and Battista, with six, did most of the damage during the Falcons' 18th run of 10-0 or better this season.
Finn filled the stat sheet with seven assists, six rebounds and three steals in addition to scoring 17 on seven-of-eight shooting. She made all four of her shots inside the arc and buried three of four from outside.
Battista finished eight of 11 from the floor, making her 23 of 28 for her career against the Dolphins, and also had four assists.
Coach Barbara Stevens made liberal use of her bench with everyone dressed playing at least nine minutes and no one playing more than Finn's 26. The non-starters provided 35 points, including 11 from freshman guard Jane White (Amherst, N.H./Souhegan HS) and nine from sophomore guard Kelsey Mattice (Cicero, N.Y./Cicero North Syracuse HS). Junior forward Tyler Parker Kimball (New Britain, Conn./New Britain HS) led the Falcons on the boards, grabbing nine, including five offensive.
Bentley, after being about 70 percent for most of the first half and over 60 for much of the second, finished with a season-best .556 field goal percentage and held the Dolphins to 35 percent.
The Falcons buried 10 three-pointers, hitting 53 percent from outside, and also finished with substantial advantages in rebounds (38-26), points in the paint (46-8), points off turnovers (32-13), fast break points (19-0) and assists (28-11). In addition, they only committed 13 turnovers, six fewer than the Dolphins.
Freshman forward Lauren Price (Humble, Texas) led Le Moyne with 10 points and five rebounds off the bench.
Bentley will play its next three on the road, beginning Saturday at Southern Connecticut State.