WALTHAM, Mass. – The top two scorers in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball will be in action Saturday when the Bentley University Falcons, ranked 25th in the D2SIDA media poll, travel to West Haven, Conn. to take on the University of New Haven Chargers. Tip-off at the Charger Gym is at 3:30 pm with links to the webcast available at www.bentleyfalcons.com.
Bentley junior forward and three-time NE-10 Player of the Week Jen Gemma (Milton/ Fontbonne Academy) sits atop the scoring list for the second straight year with her average at 20.5. She's followed by New Haven senior guard Briana Bradford, who'll go into Saturday at 17.7. She's rarely off the court, having played 40 minutes or more five times already this season.
Gemma has strung together four straight double-doubles, including 22 points and 12 rebounds last Saturday when the Falcons extended their winning streak to five with an 80-69 win over Stonehill. That was Bentley's fifth wire-to-wire win of the season and boosted coach Barbara Stevens' team to 11-2 overall and 5-2 in the NE-10.
In addition to scoring over 20 a game, Gemma also averages 10.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks, two numbers that have picked up as the season as progressed. The six-footer has provided 12.8 boards and two rejections a game over the last six.
Bentley's other double-figure scorer, sophomore guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./ Damascus HS), has been one of the conference's premier three-point shooters. She's second in the NE-10 in accuracy (.473), with her success rate by far the best among the seven conference players making at least two a game.
Freshman guard Megan Lewis (Sevenoaks, England), the NE-10 Rookie of the Week for the second time, has been outstanding since Bentley returned from its Christmas break. She's taken over the NE-10 lead in steals (2.3) and in her last two contests, has given the Falcons 28 points, 12 assists, 11 steals and 11 rebounds.
While Bentley is fighting for first in the NE-10's Northeast Division (currently a half-game back of Assumption), New Haven is at the bottom of the Southwest Division after dropping its last two. The Chargers, 26-6 and an Elite Elite participant a year ago, are 6-7 overall and 2-5 NE-10 after beginning 2016 with losses to undefeated American International and Merrimack, the latter coming in OT.
New Haven has three double-digit scorers with Bradford joined by senior Lauren Hebert and freshman Alexandria Kerr. Hebert averages 12.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.7 steals, and Kerr follows at 10.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.2 steals.
The Chargers have struggled at the offensive end (13th in field goal percentage, 12th in three-point shooting) but are third in steals (8.8) and fourth in forcing turnovers (18.5). New Haven's propensity for coming up with the loose ball could be a factor as Bentley has turned it over more than any other NE-10 team (19.4 turns per game). Despite that, the Falcons lead the NE-10 in scoring, field goal percentage and three-point shooting.
Bentley will be back in the Dana Center on Wednesday, a 5:30 game against Adelphi, before embarking on three straight away from home.