BROOKVILLE, N.Y. – Junior forward Jen Gemma (Milton, Mass./Fontbonne Academy) put up a 23-point, 10-rebound double-double and the Falcons took control with a late 14-4 run as the Bentley University Falcons ran their record to 9-2 with a 61-54 win over LIU Post in non-conference women's basketball Sunday afternoon at the Pratt Recreation Center.
Bentley's decisive burst came after the Pioneers (1-9) took their only lead of the game, 48-47, on a top-of-the-key three from junior forward Janaysia James (Perth Amboy, N.J.) 40 seconds into the final stanza.
Gemma answered with a fast-break lay-up after the Falcons quickly broke a press that had been bothering them all afternoon. She grabbed a defensive rebound at the other end and a lay-up by Falcon freshman forward Victoria Lux (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy) made it 51-48 with eight minutes to play.
Following another outside jump by James, Bentley ran off the next six, extending the spread to seven, 57-50, with 4:49 to play. Junior center Melina Kollia (Athens, Greece) made a lay-up, Lux buried a jumper from 16 and Lux followed with another inside basket.
Gemma answered an LIU Post basket with a spinning lay-up, and two free throws by freshman guard Megan Lewis (Sevenoaks, England), following her third steal of the afternoon, put the Falcons up nine, 61-52, with 94 seconds left.
In addition to the strong finish, Bentley also had a hot start, vaulting out to a Gemma-fueled 13-2 lead after five-and-a-half minutes. Senior guard Jane White (Amherst, N.H./Souhegan HS) opened the game's scoring by sticking a three from the left corner and Gemma followed with the Falcons' first 11 points, including a pair of triples. Her 11 first-quarter points matched the Bentley season-best for points in a quarter, which Gemma set last month against New York Tech.
LIU Post used a traditional three-point play to get within eight at the first quarter stop, 18-10, and began the second with a 9-3 spurt to get within two at 21-19. Bentley ran off the next six, including another corner three from White, but the Pioneers were within two at the half after scoring the final five points of the second.
In the third, an early 7-0 Bentley burst made it a 39-32 game, but again the Pioneers finished the quarter strong. They scored the final five points and the Falcon lead after three was again two, 47-45.
Gemma, who achieved her seventh double-double, was Bentley's only double figure scorer with the Northeast-10 Conference scoring leader making 8 of 17 overall and five of six free throws. Kollia gave the Falcons nine points off the bench and Lux finished with seven points, five rebounds and four assists.
James led LIU Post with 13 points, although it took her 15 shots, including seven from downtown, to reach that total. Sophomore guard Naya Williams (New Rochelle, N.Y.) played a key role in keeping the Pioneers within reach in the first half and finished with 11 points, six rebounds and two steals off the bench.
Bentley outshot the Pioneers 46-27 percent in the game and finished with a 39-36 percent overall shooting edge. Rebounds had the same 39-36 margin, in favor of the visitors, and the Falcons nearly doubled LIU Post at the line, 17-9, connecting at an 81 percent success rate.
After a Christmas break, Bentley will close out 2015 with a home game against Bridgeport on Dec. 30.