WALTHAM, Mass. – With hopes for a spot in the Northeast-10 Conference championship tournament gone, the Bentley University women's basketball team will look to finish the season on a winning note Tuesday night when it visits Franklin Pierce University. Game time at the FPU Field House is set for 5:30 pm.
Bentley will head to southwest New Hampshire with records of 11-15 overall and 6-14 conference after Saturday's 85-71 loss at Northeast Division champion and nationally-ranked Stonehill. Prior to falling to the Skyhawks, the Falcons had won four of their previous six.
Franklin Pierce, a sparkling 11-1 at home this season, has secured the Northeast's number two seed in the upcoming conference playoffs. The Ravens, 16-9 overall and 12-8 NE-10, stumbled on Saturday, managing only nine first-half points in a 53-49 road loss to Merrimack three days after upending Stonehill three days earlier.
Tuesday's game will be the final one for Bentley seniors Kelsey Mattice (Cicero, N.Y./Cicero North Syracuse HS) and Carlene Kluge (Reading/Reading HS), both of whom were regulars in coach Barbara Stevens' starting unit this season after being members of the Falcons' 2014 NCAA Division II national championship team.
Mattice's scoring average is up to 8.1 after she reached double-figures in six of the last eight games. Over the last three games, she's averaged 14 points, made 8 of 14 three-pointers and committed only five turnovers in 104 minutes as the team's primary ball-handler.
Kluge, in six February games, has produced 9.0 points per game while shooting 63 percent overall. That production has boosted her season norm to 6.0 ppg and elevated her field goal accuracy to .509.
Sophomore forward and NE-10 scoring leader Jen Gemma (Milton/Fontbonne Academy) will enter the game with a 19.4 average, a half-point better the school record set by Alison Fay in 1982. She's also on the brink of becoming the first Falcon since Fay in 1983 to average a double-double with Gemma currently second in the NE-10 in rebounds at 10.3.
Gemma has a dozen double-doubles this season and has missed five others by a single rebound, including Saturday when she had 16 points, nine rebounds and a career-high four blocks against Stonehill.
Freshman guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS), the only Falcon other than Gemma to start every game, is second on the team in scoring with her 11.4 norm currently the best by any NE-10 freshman. This week's NE-10 Spalding Rookie of the Week has averaged nearly 13 points over the last five games while making 10 of 18 three-pointers.
Franklin Pierce is led by junior forward Kara Charette, the NE-10 leader in getting to the line (152 of 183) and the only conference player shooting at least 50 percent overall and 80 percent from the line. Third in the NE-10 in scoring at 17.7, she's been especially effective at home, scoring 18.3 a game while shooting 58 percent overall and 88 percent at the charity stripe.
The Ravens' other double figure scorer is grad student Jessica Hurd, a six-foot forward who produces 11.6 points and eight rebounds a game.
Franklin Pierce has two of the top playmakers in the NE-10, with both grad student Kate McDonald and junior Dyamond Gardner having at least 100 assists.
In the earlier meeting between the Falcons and Ravens, Franklin Pierce used 50 percent shooting and an 8-6 advantage in threes to win at Bentley, 75-71. Five different players finished with 16 points, including Gemma, Green and Macchi Smith for the home team.