WALTHAM, Mass. – Coming off a hard-fought 60-56 win over Southern Connecticut State, the Bentley University women's basketball team will continue its bid for a Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division title Wednesday when it will be at Stonehill College for a 5:30 pm encounter in Merkert Gymnasium. A pay-per-view webcast will be available at www.stonehillskyhawks.tv.
Bentley will begin the February portion of its schedule atop the Northeast Division standings with a two-game advantage on streaking Saint Anselm College, which has won six in a row. Assumption College and Franklin Pierce are both three games off the pace with all having seven contests remaining. The Falcons were the first team out in this week's WBCA/USA Today Sports Division II coaches' poll but moved to ninth in the D2SIDA Division II media poll.
The come-from-behind win over Southern Connecticut was the fifth straight and 11th in the last 12 games for Women's Basketball Hall of Fame coach Barbara Stevens' team. The Falcons are 17-3 overall, 11-3 in the conference and 9-1 on the road so far this season.
Stonehill, after beginning the 2016 portion of the schedule with five straight losses, has won three in a row, a stretch in which they've limited three of the Southwest Division's better teams – Adelphi, American International and Saint Rose – to 46.7 points per game and a .325 field goal percentage. The Skyhawks are tied for fifth in the Northeast Division at 11-9 overall and 6-8 NE-10.
The Falcons claimed the win over Southern despite a season-low nine points from conference-scoring leader Jen Gemma (Milton/Fontbonne Academy). The All-Conference six-footer is averaging 18.9 points and is also second in the NE-10 in rebounds (10.1).
Senior guard Jane White (Amherst, N.H./Souhegan HS) stepped up against the Owls with her 11 points and three steals both matching season-highs for the second-year captain.
Freshman guard Megan Lewis (Sevenoaks, England) was cited as the NE-10 Spalding Rookie of the Week for the fourth time this season on Monday. She's averaged 12 .2 points and 2.7 steals in the team's last ten games while shooting nearly 50 percent from downtown.
Second to Gemma on the team's season scoring list is sophomore guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS) at 10.7 a game. Her .444 accuracy mark from downtown ranks third in the conference.
Stonehill, which dropped an 80-69 decision to the Falcons last month in Waltham, features the backcourt tandem of junior Kelly Martin and senior Paige Marshall. They are the team's two double-digit scorers, both have over 70 assists and they are two of the best foul shooters in the conference.
Martin averages 14.6 points while leading the Skyhawks in rebounds (5.6), assists (78), steals (25) and three-pointers (32). Marshall (13.8 ppg) doesn't shoot the three as often (2.7 attempts a game) but is very effective when she does (.463).
Forward Maty Diabate has had a productive rookie season, giving her team 9.3 points a game with a .517 field goal percentage.
In the earlier meeting, Bentley went wire-to-wire for the victory with Gemma recording one of her 12 double-doubles (22 points, 12 rebounds) and the Falcons scoring 23 points off 25 turnovers.
Bentley will be back at home Saturday for a Senior Day and Pink Day game against Assumption.