WALTHAM, Mass. – The Bentley University women's basketball team will be looking to extend its six-game winning streak Wednesday night when the Northeast-10 Conference's top scoring team squares off against one of the conference's top defensive clubs, the Adelphi University Panthers. Tip-off at the Dana Center is scheduled for 5:30 with a free webcast available at www.bentleyfalcons.tv.
Bentley, which has scored 80+ points in consecutive games for the first time since its national championship season two years ago, has averaged 71.2 points while already exceeding last year's win total (11). Saturday's 84-72 win at New Haven lifted coach Barbara Stevens' team to 12-2 overall and first place in the NE-10's Northeast Division.
Adelphi, the NE-10 Southwest Division regular season champion the last two years likely won't repeat as they are already four games back of unbeaten American International (whom the Falcons will see on Saturday). The Panthers are still having a good season and will come into the Dana Center at 11-5 overall, including 4-4 NE-10.
One of the reasons Bentley has averaged nearly 78 points in its first three January games has been the play of guards Megan Lewis (Sevenoaks, England), Lauren Green (Damascus, Md.) and Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward School), a trio who combined for 49 points at New Haven.
Green has put up back-to-back 17-point games and is second in the NE-10 in three-point shooting (.467). Lewis, the NE-10 Rookie of the Week for the second straight time, has averaged 16 points, six assists and 4.7 rebounds in her last three, and has climbed to second in the conference in steals. Smith gave the Falcons 12 points, six rebounds and four assists in 26 minutes off the bench at New Haven, her best showing since a December 2014 knee injury.
There have also been five straight double-doubles from junior forward Jen Gemma (Milton/ Fontbonne Academy), the NE-10 scoring leader with a 20.2 average. Over her last eight contests, she's averaged 21.5 points and 13 rebounds, including 5.5 at the offensive end. Gemma is 20 points and 16 rebounds away from cracking Bentley's all-time top 20 in both categories.
In addition to scoring, Stevens' team leads the NE-10 in field goal percentage (.444), three-point shooting (.383) and assists (17.2). It will be facing an Adelphi team that leads the NE-10 in field goal percentage defense (.345), including just .262 from downtown. The Panthers are also second in steals, making 9.4 a game.
Adelphi snapped a two-game slide on Saturday with a 68-52 victory over St. Michael's, a game that featured a career performance from junior forward Sierra Clark. After starting the season's first eight games, she came off the bench for the eighth straight contest and delivered a school record-tying 36 points, including 30 in the second half, on 17 of 21 shooting.
The huge game boosted Clark's season average to a team-high 13.8, less than a tenth-of-a-point better than graduate student and guard Ashley Gomez. Gomez leads the team in assists (51) and Clark has 37 defensive plays (16 blocks, 21 steals) in addition to a 5.8 rebound average.
Gomez has started every game, as have the team's top two three-point threats, senior guards Lauren Nuss and Tara Flynn. Flynn (6.5 ppg) has connected 25 teams from deep and Nuss (4.9 ppg) has 23 threes.
After taking on the Panthers, Bentley will turns its sights to 15-0 AIC, who the Falcons will see on Saturday in the first of three straight on the road.