EASTON, Mass. – Senior Jen Gemma (Milton/Fontbonne Academy) scored a game-high 23 points, including the final six of the night, as Bentley University came from behind for the second straight game, edging Stonehill College 53-50 in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Wednesday evening at Merkert Gym.
Gemma, the NE-10's top scorer, nailed two from the line with 9.2 seconds left to turn a one-point deficit into a one-point lead and accounted for the contest's final score with two more free throw throws with one-tenth of a second remaining.
The win, Bentley's sixth straight and 12th in its last 13 contests, boosted the Falcons to 18-3 overall (12-3 conference) and maintained their two-game lead in the NE-10's Northeast Division. Stonehill, which saw its three-game win streak halted, dropped to 11-10 overall and 6-9 NE-10.
The Falcons held a six-point lead, 45-39, with five-and-a-half minutes left in the fourth. Only six points had been scored in the quarter to that point, but four were by Gemma to slightly extend a 41-37 advantage after three.
Stonehill embarked on run of nine unanswered, including five from senior guard Paige Marshall (Braintree), to go up three with just under two minutes left. Two free throws by Falcon sophomore guard Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward School) made it a one-point game but the Skyhawks came right back to get a basket from senior forward Shannon Brown (Las Vegas, Nev.) with 1:23 to play.
Gemma answered with a lay-up and the Falcons got the ball back with a steal from freshman guard Megan Lewis (Sevenoaks, England) with 49 seconds left. Following a Falcon miss, a Stonehill travel and a Skyhawk ball, it was Bentley's ball out of bounds with 9.2 seconds remaining.
Gemma was fouled on the inbound attempt and she knocked down both for the lead. Stonehill leading scorer Kelly Martin (Scituate), a junior guard, drove to the basket but her attempt was well off the mark and it went out of bounds to the Falcons with one-tenth of a second left, locking up the 995th victory in program history.
After trailing by as many as seven, Bentley's lead was down to one, 25-24, following a low-scoring second quarter in which the two teams combined for only 16 points (six by the Falcons). Sophomore guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS) carried the scoring load for the visitors with ten points, including eight in an opening quarter that ended with Bentley in front 19-14.
The third period saw Stonehill grab a brief lead at 30-29 but five straight by Falcon co-captain and senior guard Jane White (Amherst, N.H./Souhegan HS) put the visitors back in front.
Gemma, in addition to putting up 23 points, finished with eight rebounds and two blocks. Green was the Falcons' other double-figure scorer (10 points) and Lewis came within a point of a double-double, finishing with 10 boards.
Martin led Stonehill with 16 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Both teams shot about 37 percent but the Falcons had the edge in most other categories, including threes (5-2), free throws (10-6) and rebounds (40-34).
Bentley will be back at home Saturday for a 1:30 pm game against Assumption.