COLCHESTER, Vt. – Senior All-America forward Jen Gemma (Milton, Mass./Fontbonne Academy) scored 21 points and junior guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS) followed with 14, along with three steals, as Bentley University posted its fifth wire-to-wire win since Jan. 1, 70-48 over St. Michael's College in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Wednesday evening at the Ross Sports Center.
Bentley, ranked 15th in this week's WBCA Division II poll and number three in the first NCAA East Region rankings (announced Wednesday afternoon), stretched its winning streak to 10 games and improved to 22-4 overall (18-1 NE10). St. Michael's dropped to 12-12 and 10-9 after shooting just .317, including just 1/13 in the third quarter.
With Green playing a major role, Bentley had a quick start to the game, vaulting out to a 16-2 lead after six minutes. Three of her four first-quarter threes came during that span and she also came up with a couple steals.
St. Michael's cut the difference to 11 (24-13) by the quarter break and pulled as close as six (34-28) following a three by senior guard Indira Evora (Somerville, Mass.) with 2:14 left in the opening half, a triple that lifted her into the Purple Knights' 1,000-point club.
Bentley quickly answered with seven straight, including four by Gemma (15 first-half points) and a three-point play from junior guard Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward School). That pushed the difference to 13 before the home team scored the final three points of the half to make it 41-31 Falcons at the break.
The Purple Knights scored the first basket of the second half, drawing within eight, but wouldn't put the ball through the basket again until 65 seconds had elapsed in the fourth, a scoreless drought of 12-and-a-half minutes.
Bentley, in between St. Michael's baskets, scored 14 unanswered to build a 55-33 advantage 50 seconds into the fourth. Sophomore forward Victoria Lux (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy) had five of the 14 and both Smith and sophomore guard Amy McConnell (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor HS) connected from downtown.
The Falcon lead peaked at 26 twice, the first coming with 3:28 left when junior guard Trevena Bennett (Union, N.J./Gill St. Bernard School) knocked down a three-ball.
Gemma, who moved within 70 points of Lauren Battista's school-record 2,112, made only 7 of 18 from the floor but hit seven of her eight from the line. She also had nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block.
Green, now 57 points away from 1,000, buried four of her nine shots from outside the arc. The Falcons also received eight points apiece from Smith and McConnell, along with seven from Lux.
For St. Michael's, only sophomore guard Emily Ferreri (Hyde Park, N.Y.) scored more than eight. She finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and two steals.
Bentley shot 40 percent overall, made four more threes (7-3) and attempted twice as many free throws (13-16 as compared to 7-8). Rebounds (45-35), second-chance points (17-7) and points in the paint (32-16) also favored the home team.
Bentley will close out its regular season home schedule and celebrate Senior Night when it host Saint Anselm Saturday at 6 pm.