WALTHAM, Mass. – Six-foot forward Megan Lewis (Sevenoaks, England), one of three Falcons honored during pregame Senior Day ceremonies, scored a career-high 24 points, all in the second half, to lead the Bentley University Falcons to their tenth straight win, 69-54 over Saint Anselm College in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Saturday afternoon on the Dana Center's Barbara Stevens Court.
It was the tenth straight win for the 14th-ranked Falcons, who improved to 23-2 overall and 17-1 in the conference. This marked the second time this season and the 25th time during Stevens' 33 years at the helm that her team has put together a winning streak of at least ten games.
After a low-scoring, turnover-filled first half, Bentley had a pair of significant second-half runs and in each one, Lewis played a key role.
With the Falcons down 29-27 midway through the third quarter, Bentley ran off 13 unanswered with Lewis scoring the final eight. The surge began with sophomore guard Katie Meriggioli (Waunakee, Wis./Edgewood HS) drilling a three-ball from the right side, giving the Falcons a lead they would not give up. Senior guard Amy McConnell (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor HS), who had the assist on McConnell's basket, followed with a driving lay-up after a Meriggioli steal.
Lewis was responsible for the next eight. She buried a pair of threes, about 30 seconds apart, with both assisted by junior guard Julia Ford (Charlton/Noble and Greenough), and made it 40-29 with a lay-up with 2:15 left in the quarter.
Saint Anselm (16-7, 11-7 NE10) countered with nine straight, drawing within two, 40-38, with 42 seconds elapsed in the fourth. The two teams took turns scoring over the next few minutes with Lewis' third trifecta of the half making it 50-44 with 7:10 left.
A lay-up by Lewis with 4:54 to play launched a 7-0 run and made it a 57-46 game with just over three minutes remaining.
Saint Anselm sent Bentley to the charity stripe six times in the final 2:20 and the Falcons capitalized, making all 12 free throws to forge the biggest lead of the afternoon. Lewis, Ford and McConnell were each 4-for-4 during that stretch.
Bentley was down 11-7 after the opening stanza due to the combination of ten turnovers and only two baskets in ten attempts. The Falcons found their offense in the second, outscoring the Hawks 16-9 to take a 23-20 lead into the break. McConnell was the team's leading scorer in the quarter with five points.
Lewis, who also had a game-high 11 rebounds and three steals, made 8 of 15 shots overall, three of seven from downtown and all five of her free throws. She had eight points in the third before erupting for 16 in the final stanza.
McConnell followed with 15 points, six rebounds and four assists, and Ford provided ten points and four helpers off the bench.
Saint Anselm was led by junior center Shannon Ryan (Plattsburgh, N.Y.) and sophomore guard Peyton Steinman (Pittsfield), each with 16 points.
Bentley outshot the visitors 40-33 percent and made 19 of 22 free throws. Meanwhile, Saint Anselm attempted only ten, making seven (the same number as McConnell). The Falcons took better care of the ball after intermission, losing it only four times to finish with 17. The Hawks totaled 20 turnovers.
Bentley's next two games are on the road, beginning Wednesday at St. Michael's.