WALTHAM, Mass. -- Riding a seven-game winning streak and in the WBCA/USA TODAY Sports Division II top 25 for the first time since early December, the Bentley University women's basketball team will visit Southern New Hampshire University Wednesday evening in search of its 31st 20-win season.
Tip-off at the SNHU Fieldhouse is scheduled for 5:30 pm with the game being broadcast live by both NESN+ and NESN National, as well www.snhupenmen.com.
Coach Barbara Stevens' team, who returned to the WBCA Top 25 at number 24 Tuesday, will head into the game with records of 19-3 overall and 13-3 Northeast-10. The Falcons lead the NE-10 Northeast Division by two games over Saint Anselm with five left in the regular season.
Bentley, just four victories away from becoming the first Division II program with 1,000 all-time wins, is coming off a 77-65 win over Assumption that avenged one of the team's three losses and the Falcons will be looking to do the same against Southern New Hampshire. Back on December 5, the then-undefeated Penmen ran their record to 8-0 with a 72-67 despite a 25-point, 20-rebound, 3-block effort from Falcon junior forward Jen Gemma (Milton/Fontbonne Academy).
Since that date, the two clubs have gone in opposite directions with Bentley winning 13 of 14 and SNHU losing nine of 14.
Gemma was named the NE-10 Spalding Player of the Week for the fourth time this season on Monday after back-to-back 23-point games last week in wins over Stonehill and Assumption. The only multiple winner of the award this year, she's averaging a conference-best 19.2 points, along with 9.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks.
Stevens has been able to use the same starting five throughout the season's first 22 games with Gemma joined by senior guard Jane White (Amherst, N.H./Souhegan HS), sophomore guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS) and a pair of freshmen, guard Megan Lewis (Sevenoaks, England) and forward Vanessa Lux (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy).
Green has raised her average to 10.9 after scoring 14, 10 and 15 points in her last three games. She's 11 of 16 from the floor in the last two, including five of ten from three-point land. White, over that same span, has averaged 8.3 points, nearly double her season norm.
Lewis scores nearly nine a game while leading the Falcons in assists (63) and steals (47). Lux has a .500 field goal percentage and her 5.5 rebound average is second on the team.
Southern New Hampshire, currently fifth in a Northeast Division where only five teams receive a spot in the championship tournament, has won three of its last four overall after suffering through a five-game losing streak.
The Penmen are led at the offensive end by freshman forward Kylie Lorenzen. She's averaging 12.4 points and 6.9 rebounds while also leading SNHU in steals (34) and free throws (57-81). Lorenzen came off the bench for 13 points, eight rebounds and four steals in the earlier meeting with the Falcons.
The rest of the team's offense is very balanced with seven players scoring between 5.4 and 8.1 points a game. The highest average belongs to senior forward Erin Doherty, who also contributes 5.2 rebounds on average.
Bentley will also be in the Granite State on Saturday for a 1:30 pm contest at Franklin Pierce.