WALTHAM, Mass. – Junior Jen Gemma (Milton/Fontbonne Academy), classmate Melina Kollia (Athens, Greece) and freshman Victoria Lux (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy), a trio of posts, combined for Bentley University's first 21 points and finished with a total of 38 as the Falcons halted Saint Anselm College's five-game winning streak, 60-46, in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball at the Dana Center Monday night.
Gemma, an All-Conference performer who reached the 1,000-point milestone over the weekend, led the way with 18 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Lux scored a career-high 12 points on 5-of-7 from the floor, and Kollia came off the bench to add eight points (4-5 shooting) and six rebounds in 17 minutes.
It was a strong defensive effort for the Falcons, who were ranked 22nd in last week's WBCA/USA TODAY Sports Division II coaches poll. Facing a team that had averaged 75 points and shot 46 percent during its streak, Bentley held the Hawks to a season-low point total on just 27.5 percent shooting, and also forced 22 turnovers.
After trailing by four early, Bentley closed out the opening quarter with a 15-3 spurt to take a 19-11 lead into the second. The Falcons shot 60 percent during the first ten minutes with Lux (8), Gemma (7) and Kollia (4) handling all the scoring.
Eight unanswered points midway through the second, six of those scored by sophomore guard Kristen Brown (Poulsbo, Wash./North Kitsap HS), resulted in Bentley's biggest lead of the first half (29-15 with 3:46 left).
After Saint Anselm reduced the lead from 12 to nine during the third quarter, Bentley put the game away with a 12-2 burst to start the fourth. Five different players scored during the run with Gemma tallying four and freshman guard Amy McConnell (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor HS) knocking down a corner three to make it 57-38 with six minutes to play.
Saint Anselm (5-2, 3-2 NE-10) closed to within 11 with four minutes left but got no closer as they were held without a point on their final nine possessions.
Six-foot-five freshman Samnell Vonleh (Swampscott) recorded a double-double for Saint Anselm as she finished with 11 points, ten rebounds and three blocks. Junior All-Northeast-10 guard Candace Andrews (Boston), who torched the Falcons for 34 last year, was held to four points, 11 below her team-leading average, on 2-for-16 shooting.
Bentley (7-2, 3-2 NE-10) shot 42 percent overall, made 11 of 13 free throws and was productive of the ball with a season-low 13 turnovers. The Falcons entered the game ranked third in Division II in rebound margin but were out-boarded by the Hawks, 47-33. The visitors grabbed 21 at the offensive end, which they turned into a 14-0 advantage in second-chance points.
The Falcons, who don't play at home again until Dec. 30, return to action Saturday with a 1:30 pm game at St. Michael's.