The Penmen upended the nation's 22nd-ranked Division II team, 93-77, to improve to 8-0 overall and 4-0 conference in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Saturday afternoon at the Dana Center. Bentley slipped to 6-2 overall and 2-2 NE-10.
Gemma, who had Bentley's first 20-20 game in at least 20 years, became the 34th player in program history to reach the 1,000-point milestone with a third-chance lay-up with just over seven minutes left in the opening quarter. The six-footer became the 17th Falcon to score her 1,000th prior to her final season.
That basket gave the Falcons one of their three four-point leads of the first quarter, the last coming at 13-9 with 1:51 to play.
Most of the rest of the first half belonged to the visiting Penmen, who scored the final seven of the first, all tallied by freshman forward Kylie Lorenzen (Holliston), to go up 16-13 after the opening ten minutes. That 7-0 burst grew into a 26-7 run that put SNHU up 35-20 with four minutes left until intermission.
A 9-2 Bentley run surrounding the halftime break brought the Falcons within ten, 44-34, with eight minutes left in the third. However, the Falcons didn't get closer until sophomore guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS) sank a three-ball from the left wing with 3:05 to play in the fourth, making it 66-57.
Another Green triple reduced the difference to six, 69-63, with 58.9 seconds left but the Penmen held off the home team with three free throws the rest of the way.
Gemma's 20 rebounds were evenly split between the offensive and defensive ends as she had more of each than any other player had in the game. She struggled through a tough shooting night (10-27) but also helped her team with three blocks.
Green was the only other Falcon to score more than seven points as she finished with a season-best 20 points on six-of-nine shooting with three trifectas. She was also credited with three assists, two rebounds and two blocks.
Seven different Penmen scored at least six points with senior forward Erin Doherty (Marshfield) leading the way with 15. Lorenzen followed with 13, along with four steals and eight rebounds, in 18 minutes off the bench and sophomore Olivia Conrad (Hanover) added 12 points.
SNHU, which shot 59 percent in the second quarter, finished at 43 percent and enjoyed a 22-8 advantage in points off turnovers (Falcons lost the ball 19 times, six more than the Penmen). Bentley shot 541 percent and had a slight rebound edge, 40-38.
Bentley will look to get back on track Monday with a 6 pm home game against once-beaten Saint Anselm.