WALTHAM, Mass. – Junior All-Conference forward Jen Gemma (Milton/Fontbonne Academy) scored 23 points, including nine in the final four minutes after the Falcon lead was cut to three, as Bentley University ran its winning streak to seven with a 77-65 victory over Assumption College in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Saturday afternoon at the Dana Center.
Bentley, 19-3 overall and 13-3 in the NE-10, maintained its two-game lead in the NE-10's Northeast Division by winning for the 13th time in its last 14 games. Assumption dropped four games back, falling to 13-8 overall and 9-7 in the conference.
Following a 6-0 Greyhound rally that brought the visitors within three at 60-57, the Falcons went inside to Gemma for a couple baskets. Those were followed by two free throws by the NE-10 scoring leader, putting Bentley in front 66-57 with 2:22 to play.
Assumption missed a pair of free throws on its next possession and Bentley followed with a half-hook from senior center Melina Kollia (Athens, Greece) to go up eight with 1:51 left.
` The final 100 seconds featured a parade to the foul line for the Falcons, who made 9 of 12 to lock up the 996th victory in the program's history. Five players helped out by hitting a free throw during that stretch with Gemma three of four.
There were seven lead changes in a first half that ended with the two clubs even at 31. The scoring during the first 20 minutes was spread out with nine Falcons putting the ball through the net and eight Greyhounds doing the same.
Bentley took the lead for good when senior guard and captain Jane White (Amherst, N.H./ Souhegan HS), honored pregame during Senior Day festivities, opened the second half scoring with a three-ball from the left corner. That began a 10-4 opening burst that made it a 41-35 Falcon advantage.
Assumption got within one or two three times over the final six minutes of the third quarter, but each time Gemma delivered for the Falcons. She hit a top-of-the-key three with 4:41 to make it 44-40, a lay-up with 3:16 for a 46-43 lead and two free throws to finish the quarter's scoring.
On top 49-45 entering the final ten minutes, baskets from sophomore guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS) and Kollia extended Bentley's lead to eight, 53-45 with 8:53 to play. Those two also scored consecutive baskets later in the fourth, producing a 60-51 lead with 5:36 left.
Assumption answered right back with six straight, including four free throws by senior guard Kelly Conley (Ellington, Conn.), to close within three, 60-57, with 4:47 to play. Gemma took over from there to put the game in the win column for the Falcons.
Gemma's afternoon also included six rebounds, two assists and two steals. She made half of her field goal attempts, both of her threes and nine of ten from the line.
Green, who was 3-of-5 from deep, followed with 15 points, three assists, two steals and two rebounds. Kollia provided a season-high 10 points off the bench and White followed with nine points and four assists.
Conley led three double-digit scorers for Assumption, who finished with 14 points and three steals.
Bentley outshot the Hounds 45-41 percent and made three more triples, hitting 9 of 17 from downtown. The Falcons, who scored a school-record 28 points in the final quarter, also finished with more free throws (20-17), more rebounds (9-6) and one less turnover (17-18).
Bentley is on the road for two next week with the Falcons seeking their 20th win of the season Wednesday at Southern New Hampshire (5:30 pm).