SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Freshman guard Megan Lewis (Sevenoaks, England) buried two of the Falcons' 11 three-pointers in the final 95 seconds and junior All-Conference forward Jen Gemma (Milton/Fontbonne Academy) posted her 11th double-double as Bentley University won for the seventh time in its last eight games, 72-65, over American International College, the 20th ranked team in Division II, in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Saturday afternoon at Butova Gym.
Bentley improved to 13-3 overall and 7-3 NE-10 while maintaining a one-game lead at the top of the Northeast Division standings. AIC suffered its second straight loss, dropping to 15-2 overall and 8-2 in conference play.
Lewis led Bentley with 17 points, including 8-for-8 from the line, and Gemma followed with 13 points and 11 boards. The Falcons also received a season-best 11 off the bench from sophomore guard Trevena Bennett (Union, N.J./Gill St. Bernard's HS).
With the game tied at 51, sophomore guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS) buried a three from the right wing with 6:49 left to put the Falcons in front to stay. That ignited a 9-2 spurt which produced a 60-53 advantage with 3:41 to play and also included two Lewis free throws, a driving lay-up by Gemma and a pair of charity tosses from Gemma.
A three-point play by AIC junior guard Imani Stepney (Willingboro, N.J.) and two free throws by teammate Kamika Mason (Long Beach, Calif.) reduced the spread to two with 1:57 left on the fourth quarter clock.
Lewis drained a pair of triples, one from the left wing with 1:35 showing and the other on an inbound play with 44 seconds left, to keep it a two-possession game, 66-60.
The Falcons locked up the win by sinking six of six from the line in the final 22 seconds, two apiece by Lewis, sophomore guard Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward School) and Bennett.
Bentley took a 36-32 lead into the halftime locker room following a strong effort from the bench. The Falcon reserves provided 20 points, including 16 in the second quarter when the visitors outscored the NE-10's leading defensive team, 21-14.
A 14-4 run to start the second, including five by freshman guard Amy McConnell (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor HS), put the Falcons up seven, 29-22. After an 8-1 Yellow Jacket spurt evened the tally at 30 apiece, the Falcons regained the advantage on consecutive threes from Green and Bennett.
Smith ended a cold-shooting third for the Falcons (just 2-11 with no field goals in the first 8:20) by draining a three-ball with 6.7 seconds left, turning a one-point deficit into a 49-47 lead.
In addition to the three who scored in doubles, Bentley received nine from Green, including a 3-3 performance from three, and eight off the bench from Smith. Freshman forward Victoria Lux (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy) helped on the boards with 10.
Bentley's 72 points was the most allowed this season by Division II's second-ranked defense with the Falcons making 11 of 21 from downtown, shooting 39 percent overall and knocking down 23 of 29 free throws. The visitors also won the rebounding battle, 40-34.
AIC was held to 34 percent shooting, including 4 of 14 from three-point land. Stepney and Bishop led the Yellow Jackets with 14 points apiece.
Bentley will also be on the road Wednesday for a 7:30 game at Pace.