WALTHAM, Mass. – The Bentley University women's basketball team will look to close out January on a winning note, beginning Thursday when it travels to Albany, N.Y. to take on The College of Saint Rose in a game postponed 24 hours by this week's blizzard. Tip-off at the Daniel P. Nolan Gymnasium is set 5:30 pm. with a webcast available at www.gogoldenknights.tv.
January has not been kind for the defending NCAA Division II national championships as the Falcons have dropped six in a row after beginning the year with a 66-51 win over Saint Anselm. That's left the team at 7-11 overall and just 2-10 in Northeast-10 Conference play.
Saint Rose, which had won four of five before dropping an 80-74 decision to Saint Anselm Saturday, is 8-10 overall, 4-8 in the conference and 3-6 at home this season.
Offense has been a problem this month for the Falcons, who lost promising freshman point guard Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward School) to a season-ending injury about a week before Christmas.
Despite continued strong play from sophomore post Jen Gemma (Milton/Fontbonne Academy), coach Barbara Stevens' team has scored less than 60 four times in seven January games and has averaged only 51 points in its last three. During the first month of 2015, the Falcons have shot just 38 percent overall and 25 percent from three.
Gemma has been one of the most productive players in the Northeast-10 all season, with the three-time NE-10 Player of the Week averaging 18.6 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists with a .490 field goal percentage. Three times in the last six contests she's made at least 60 percent of her shots.
The only other Falcon averaging more than six points in January is freshman guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS). She has put up nearly 13 a game this month, raising her season mark to 11.6.
A quartet of players handle the bulk of the scoring for Saint Rose, which is second in the NE-10 in scoring defense (61.3) and fifth in offensive rebounds (13.3). Six-foot senior Mariah Lesure leads the offense, averaging 11.6 with a .565 field goal percentage. She's also a factor at the defensive end with her 25 blocks fourth in the NE-10.
Senior Jamie Hutcheson leads the Golden Knights in both rebounding (7.6), assists (63) and steals (26) while also scoring 11.2 a game. Other scoring threats include six-one sophomore Staci Barrett and senior guard Gabie Polce, with averages of 10.7 and 9.1, respectively.
After the Thursday night game, Bentley will have a quick turnaround before hosting Pace University Saturday at 1:30 pm.