WALTHAM, Mass. – The Bentley University Falcons and the American International Yellow Jackets sit atop their respective divisions in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball but when they meet Saturday afternoon in Springfield (1:30 pm), both will be looking to bounce back from a Wednesday night home loss. A free webcast will be available at www.aicyellowjackets.tv.
Bentley was upended by Adelphi, 65-59, after squandering a 10-point lead with three minutes left in the third and managing only 38 points from the midpoint of the first quarter to the midpoint of the fourth. The defense gave up 42 in the final 13 minutes after limiting the Panthers to 23 in the first 27.
AIC, number 20 in this week's USA TODAY/WBCA Division II coaches poll, was knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten by Franklin Pierce, 62-55, with the Ravens winning every quarter, including three by a single point. The Ravens' 62 points matched the second most allowed by the Yellow Jackets this season.
Bentley will make the trek to Springfield with records of 12-3 overall and 6-3 NE-10. The Falcons, who had won six straight prior to Wednesday, lead Assumption by one game and Franklin Pierce by one-and-a-half in the Northeast Division.
AIC had won its first 15, including eight against conference foes, before the Wednesday loss. Dating back to last February, the Yellow Jackets have won 20 of their last 22 with the only other defeat coming in the Northeast-10 championship game.
AIC leads the NE-10 in both scoring margin (+16.3) and rebound margin (+11.6) with Bentley (+10.0 scoring, +7.1 rebound) second in both categories, despite being outrebounded in its last four. The Falcons lead the conference in scoring at 70.4 and the Yellow Jackets are one of the stingiest nationally, giving up only 51.7 a game on 35 percent shooting.
Gemma, eight points and 13 rebounds away from entering the top 20 in program history in both categories, leads the conference in scoring (19.9 ppg) for the second straight season and is one of three NE-10 women averaging a double-double. Green is one of the NE-10's top three-point threats (29-64, .453) and an 11-point-per-game scorer.
Lewis, the NE-10 Rookie of the Week for the third time, has provided the Falcons with 13 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 3.5 steals a game since Christmas while shooting 56 percent, both overall and from three.
Guard Brianna Bishop is having a strong senior year for AIC, averaging 14.8 points while shooting 41 percent from three and 93 percent at the line. She's one of six Yellow Jackets making at least one steal a game with 31 in 16 contests.
Senior center Kamika Mason is the team's other double-figure scorer. In addition to 11.4 points, she averages a team-high 6.1 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 2.1 blocks. Six-one freshman Dana Watts, the only AIC player with a field goal percentage over .500, has been a factor off the bench, scoring 9.1 aa game with 22 steals.
Saturday's game is the first of three straight on the road for the Falcons with two trips to New York (Pace, Le Moyne) on tap for next week.