WALTHAM, Mass. – Before beginning its drive for a 20th Northeast-10 Conference tournament title, the Bentley University women's basketball team has one more item of regular season business to attend to, Tuesday night's game at Franklin Pierce University. Tip off is at 5:30 pm with a webcast available at https://boxcast.tv/view/basketball-vs-bentley-448445.
Coach Barbara Stevens' team, locked into the second seed out of the Northeast Division for the upcoming conference championships, will make the trip to Rindge, N.H. with records of 23-3 overall and 17-3 NE10. Ranked 14th in the most recent WBCA Division II national coaches' poll, the Falcons are 11-2 on the road this season.
It's been a difficult season for Franklin Pierce, which has not tasted victory since November. The Ravens are 4-21 overall with just one win in 20 conference games.
Bentley is coming off a 68-49 Senior Day win over Merrimack, a game in which the Falcons gave up only 19 first-half points and scored a total of 23 points off turnovers. It was the seventh time this season they've held the opponents under 50 points and the tenth time they've outrebounded the opposition by double figures.
Senior guard Lauren Green (Damascus, Md./Damascus HS), one of three Falcons who is scoring in doubles for the season, knocked down four three-pointers against Merrimack with her 14 points her most since early January. She's one of only two players in the NE10 who has made at least 50 threes and is shooting at least .400 from deep.
Junior center Victoria Lux (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy) and graduate guard Becca Musgrove (Plainview, N.Y./St. Anthony's HS) top the Bentley scoring list with averages of 13.6 and 12.0, respectively. Lux has 12 double-doubles and Musgrove is third in the NE10 in steals (59).
A half-dozen other Falcons provide between 4.7 and 7.7 points a game, a list headed by sophomore forward Monica Viapiano (Holden/Holy Name HS) and senior guard Macchi Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward School). Viapiano (7.7 ppg) is second in the NE10 in field goal percentage (.546) and Smith provides 7.2 points with a conference-best 2.8 assist-turnover ratio.
As a team, Bentley is leading the NE10 in scoring (75.5), three-pointers (7.7), three-point accuracy (.352), field goals (27.7), rebound margin (8.9) and scoring margin (+16.8).
Franklin Pierce, which counts a half-dozen freshmen on its 11-player roster, is led by senior guard Jemma Thacker, who scores 12 a game with a team-high 46 three-pointers. Sophomore guard Mya Mosley is the team's other double-figure scorer with her average standing at 10.6.
In the earlier meeting, Bentley set school records for points in a quarter (40) and a game (114) during a 64-point victory at the Dana Center. Six players scored in doubles, including Viapiano with an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double off the bench.
Bentley will host a quarterfinal playoff game Sunday afternoon against either Pace University or Le Moyne College, depending on the outcome of Tuesday's games.