WALTHAM, Mass. – The fourth winningest women's basketball coach in NCAA history, Bentley University's Barbara Stevens will gain another honor on Saturday when the Dana Center court where her teams have won more than 88 percent is dedicated in her name.
Bentley is a sensational 453-59 on what will now be known as the Barbara Stevens Court since her arrival on campus in 1986. It's a location where Stevens has earned her 700th, 800th, 900th and 1,000th career victories as well as 11 NCAA regional championships. Stevens and her teams have cut down the Dana Center nets an incredible 30 times.
Before the postgame ceremony, the Bentley University women's basketball team will have some business to take care of, an important Northeast-10 Conference game against the University of New Haven. Tip-off at the Dana Center is set at 3:30 pm with a webcast available on NE10 NOW.
Bentley, ranked 16th in Division II this week, will bring records of 15-2 overall and a conference-best 9-1 record into the contest against the hot Chargers. The Falcons, who lead the NE10 Northeast Division by one game in the loss column over Stonehill College, are coming off a 63-58 win over American International.
New Haven, second in the NE10 Southwest Division, is up to 13-4 overall and 6-3 NE10 after stringing together seven straight victories. Those wins have been by an average of 12.4 points with the Chargers limiting their opponents to 54.6 points.
The Falcons' five-point win over AIC on Wednesday saw the low-post duo of senior Victoria Lux (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy) and junior Monica Viapiano (Holden/Wachusett Reg. HS) combine for 30 points and sophomore guard Katie Meriggioli (Waunakee, Wis./Edgewood HS) turn in the best rebounding performance by a Falcon this year with 15.
Lux and Meriggioli are the team's top scorers and rebounders for the season. Lux, one of six players in program history with over 1,000 points and 800 rebounds, averages 12.3 points and 6.5 boards. Meriggioli is a close second in both, with 12.0 points and 6.4 rebounds.
Guard Amy McConnell (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor HS) is in the midst of a strong senior season with her .472 three-point percentage third best in the NE10. She averages 10.6 points and has a team-best 64 assists.
A couple other Falcons who are listed among the NE10 leaders are Viapiano, who is fifth in field goal percentage (.554), and sophomore Marissa Fontaine (Franklin/Bishop Feehan HS), who is fifth in three-point shooting (.542).
Junior guard Julia Ford (Charlton/Noble and Greenough) has been playing well off the bench of late, with back-to-back 11-point games and a .471 accuracy mark from deep. She also drew an offensive foul late in the AIC game to help preserve the lead.
New Haven features senior guard Alexandria Kerr, who despite being only five-foot-eight, averages close to a double-double at 16.6 points and 9.8 rebounds. She leads the conference in steals (3.4) and is sixth in rebounding. In her last two games against the Falcons, she's scored 21 and 27 points.
Junior forward Micah Womack averages 11.5 points and 6.9 rebounds, and her .569 field goal percentage is second in the NE10. Forward Camren DeBose is having a productive freshman year, giving first-year head coach Deborah Buff 10.5 points per game.
The Chargers lead the conference in steals, coming up with an average of 11.5 while forcing nearly 20 turns a game. Kerr has 59, DeBose 33 and Womack 22, along with 20 blocks.
Last year, Bentley prevailed 82-70 behind a 22-point, 13-rebound double-double by Lux and despite 27 points, six rebounds and five assists from Kerr. The Chargers led by four before the Falcons put together a 22-6 fourth quarter.
Next week, Bentley will be on the road twice, Wednesday at Adelphi and Saturday at Southern Connecticut State.