WALTHAM, Mass. – Senior forward Caitlin Ackerman (Nashua, N.H.) had 21 points, nine rebounds and eight of her team's 22 steals as Assumption College used a slew of live-ball turnovers to best Bentley University, 73-61, in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Wednesday night at the Dana Center.
Bentley's offense, as is the norm, featured sophomore forward Jen Gemma (Milton, Mass./Fontbonne Academy). The conference's leading scorer powered Bentley with 25 points, along with five rebounds, three steals and three assists while making 8 of 11 overall and 9 of 10 free throws.
Fifteen was a significant number in a first half that ended with the Falcons on the short end of a 37-28 score. It was the number of points scored by Gemma during the first 20 minutes, the size of the Greyhounds' biggest lead (29-14 with 6:52 left) and most importantly, the number of turnovers committed by Bentley.
Those 15 turns resulted in 18 points with many of those coming during a 24-9 blitzing that turned a tie game into a 15-point deficit about ten minutes later. Assumption came up with 11 steals during the half, including five by senior forward Caitlin Ackerman (Nashua, N.H.).
Bentley shot 50 percent during the first half but the carelessness with the ball, along with nine offensive rebounds by the Hounds, allowed the visitors to take 13 more shots.
Turnovers hampered the Falcons again at the start of the second with steals by junior guard Kelly Conley (Ellington, Conn.) and Ackerman on the team's first two possessions quickly restored the lead to 14, 42-28. All five of those points were scored by Conley, who matched Ackerman's 21 points.
Midway through the second, Bentley put together an 11-3 run to draw within seven, 58-51, with 8:48 left. Gemma and senior guard Kelsey Mattice (Cicero, N.Y./Cicero North Syracuse HS) each had four during that spurt and freshman guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS) connected from beyond the arc.
Assumption (12-8, 7-8 NE-10) responded with an 8-2 run to return the lead to double figures while Bentley went six minutes without scoring from the field, a drought that ended with 3:19 left when senior forward Carlene Kluge (Reading/Reading HS) made a basket to put the score at 68-57. Five straight Greyhound points, all from the line in the final 1:44, ended any hope the Falcons had of a comeback.
Joining Gemma in doubles for the Falcons were Mattice and Kluge, with 11 and 10, respectively. Sophomore forward Julia Davis (Ipswich/Ipswich HS) was next on the scoring list with a career-high six in nine minutes off the bench.
Ackerman made 9 of 13 shots and Conley connected on 6 of 11, including three of her team's four three-pointers. The visitors also received 12 points, five rebounds and five steals from sophomore guard Allison Stoddard (East Lyme, Conn.).
Shooting was nearly identical (Bentley .469, Hounds .466) and both free throws (15-13) and rebounds (32-30) were slightly in the visitors favor. The Falcons forced 18 turnovers, which they converted into 20 points, but their own turnover number was too much to overcome.
Bentley, 8-13 overall and 3-12 NE-10, will be on the road for its next two, beginning Saturday at Saint Anselm (1:30 pm).