EASTON, Mass. – Thirty points off turnovers, including 27 in the first three quarters, created a deficit that Bentley University could not overcome, and Stonehill College went on to post a 77-66 win over the third-ranked Falcons in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Wednesday evening at Merkert Gymnasium.
Stonehill, with its ninth straight win, took over the NE10 Northeast Division lead from the Falcons as the Skyhawks improved to 18-2 overall and 14-1 conference. Bentley, whose 11-game win streak came to an end, fell to 19-2 overall and 13-2 NE10.
Senior guard Kelly Martin (Scituate) led four double-figure scorers for Stonehill with 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. For Bentley, junior center Victoria Lux (Arundel, Maine/ Thornton Academy) topped the scoring list with 14, along with six rebounds.
After a 14-0 first-quarter Bentley run erased an early Skyhawk lead and put the visitors up 20-12, the final 12:20 of the opening half belonged to Stonehill. The Skyhawks closed out the first 10 minutes with a pair of three-pointers and a traditional three-point play, the nine unanswered points resulting in a 21-20 lead for the home team.
Bentley's run featured six points by sophomore forward Monica Viapiano (Holden/Holy Name HS) and was bookended by graduate guard Becca Musgrove (Plainview, N.Y./St. Anthony's HS) with a three from the right corner and a baseline jumper.
Impressive shooting in the first quarter (.615) helped Bentley overcome seven turnovers, but the Falcons struggled making baskets in the second, connecting only four of 14 while adding four more turns to their total. Stonehill, on the other hand, shot 53 percent with three triples to open up a 43-32 lead.
The momentum carried over into the third quarter, Stonehill scoring the first six to go up 17, 49-32.
After the Falcons went to the press, they finished the quarter with a 7-2 run, cutting the deficit to ten, 58-48. Senior guard Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward School) hit a 22-foot three, senior guard Trevena Bennett (Union, N.J./Gill St. Bernard School) made two from the line and Musgrove hit a baseline jumper after a turnover.
The difference dropped to seven when freshman Marissa Fontaine (Franklin/Bishop Feehan HS) opened the fourth quarter with a three from the left side. Unfortunately for Falcon followers, Stonehill pushed the difference back to 15, 69-54, with an 11-3 run over the next three-and-a-half minutes.
Bentley staged one more comeback, running off 10 straight to make it a five-point spread, 69-64 with two minutes left. Lux scored five of the ten, Musgrove nailed a three from the right wing and Bennett made two free throws after a steal from junior forward Megan Lewis (Sevenoaks, England) to cap the run.
Stonehill baskets from sophomores Gabrielle Reuter and Grace Carter returned the Skyhawk lead to nine, 73-64, and essentially sealed the outcome.
Bentley, after making 8 of 13 in the first quarter, shot only .390 overall, including 5 of 19 in the final stanza. Stonehill finished at .476, including 9 of 17 (2nd) and 7 of 12 (4th) in the two quarters the Falcons struggled. Rebounds (38-37) and turns (18-19) slightly favored Bentley, but points off turns went in the Skyhawks' favor, 30-21.
Joining Lux in doubles were Musgrove and Viapiano, with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Lewis added seven points, three steals and two blocks off the bench.
In addition to 19 from Martin, Stonehill received 15 points and six assists from senior forward Samantha Hyslip.
Next up for the Falcons is a Saturday home encounter with Assumption College (1:30 pm).