WALTHAM, Mass. – Junior guard Makenzie Burud (Red Hook, N.Y.) buried a pair of three-pointers during a 7-2 game-ending run as St. Michael's College edged Bentley University, 64-62, in a nationally-televised Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball game at the Dana Center Saturday afternoon.
With the victory in a game that featured 19 lead changes and a dozen ties, St. Michael's took the advantage in the battle for the fifth and final playoff berth in the NE-10's Northeast Division. The Purple Knights (11-12, 6-12 NE-10) grabbed a one-game lead over Bentley (10-14, 5-13 NE-10), as well as both Saint Anselm and Southern New Hampshire, with three to play. The victory also completed a sweep of the season series and gave St. Michael's control of the tie-breaker should they finish tied with the Falcons.
Bentley, after taking a 60-57 lead on a drive by senior guard Kelsey Mattice (Cicero, N.Y./ Cicero North Syracuse HS) with 4:58 left, remained stuck on that number until Mattice hit a short-jumper off the fast break with 15.1 seconds left.
While Bentley was in the midst of that dry spell, Burud buried a pair of three-pointers, one that was banked in with 4:30 to play to even the count at 60-all and one from the top of the key with 2:19 left for the lead. It stayed that way until Purple Knight sophomore guard Indira Evora (Somerville) sank the first of two at the line with 23.1 seconds remaining, making it a two-possession game.
After Mattice raced down court for a short jumper, Burud was fouled with 13.4 seconds left. She missed the first of a one-and-one with the rebound going to Bentley freshman Cassie Smith (Edison, N.J./Metuchen HS). Junior guard Jane White (Amherst, N.H./Souhegan HS) threw up a potential tying lay-up for the Falcons but it was off the mark and Evora claimed the rebound as time expired.
The two teams were appropriately even at the half, 32-all, following an opening 20 minutes that featured 15 lead changes, nine ties and no lead bigger than three points.
Over the first 8:16 of the second, Bentley gradually opened an eight-point advantage, 52-44. Mattice led that 18-10 charge with her eight points including a traditional three-point play and a trifecta from the left side.
The next six minutes belonged to St. Michael's, who put together a 15-6 surge to reclaim the lead at 57-56. That run included five points by Evora and four from Burud.
A jumper in the paint from freshman guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS) and Mattice's drive for two put Bentley back on top, 60-57, but there would be only one more basket for the Falcons the rest of the afternoon.
Mattice led Bentley with 16 points and three assists, and Green followed with 13 and four. Freshman guard Kristin Brown (Poulsbo, Wash./North Kitsap HS) provided a career-best ten points off the bench and sophomore forward Jen Gemma (Milton/Fontbonne Academy) collected 15 rebounds. Gemma, the NE-10 scoring leader, was limited to eight points, about 12 below her season norm.
Senior forward Maggie Sabine (Litchfield, Maine) led St. Michael's with 18 points, Evora finished with 16 points and nine rebounds, and Burud filled the stat sheet with 14 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and three steals.
Bentley had the shooting advantage, 40-36 percent, but the Purple Knights had the edge in rebounds (45-38), three-pointers (6-3) and turnovers (11-12).
Bentley's final home game of the season is Wednesday night, 5:30 against Southern New Hampshire University.