WALTHAM, Mass. – Riding a 10-game winning streak and with the Northeast Conference's Northeast Division title locked up, the Bentley University women's basketball team will look to stay hot when the Falcons travel to Colchester, Vt. for a Wednesday night encounter at St. Michael's College. Game time is 5:30 pm with a free webcast available on the NE10 NOW Digital Network.
Bentley's 69-54 win over Saint Anselm on Saturday boosted the Falcons to 23-2 overall and 17-1 NE10. This is the 30th time in Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame finalist Barbara Stevens' 33 seasons that her team has won at least 20 and the Falcons are two victories away from the 23rd 25-win season during her tenure.
St. Michael's, 6-2 over its last eight games and undefeated in its last four home games, is currently three games out of the Northeast Division's top five with three to play. Following the contest with the Falcons, the remaining games for the Purple Knights are Saint Anselm and Merrimack.
During the team's second double-digit win streak of the season, Bentley has held eight opponents to 59 or less and the same number to a field goal percentage under .380. On Saturday, the Falcons gave up only 20 first-half points and allowed the Hawks to make only 13 of 47 shots inside the three-point line.
That game featured a career-high 24 points from six-foot senior Megan Lewis (Sevenoaks, England). Remarkably, all 24 came in the second half, including 16 in the fourth quarter alone. Bentley is undefeated in the last 24 games she has played, dating back to last February, and in five games since returning from injury, she's averaged 11.6 points while shooting 54 percent overall and making 12 of 13 free throws.
During the current streak, senior guard Amy McConnell (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor HS) has raised her season norm to a team-best 11.8 points per game while averaging 13.7. Her 45 percent success rate from three leads the NE10 and she's also fourth in the conference in assists.
Stevens' team, which is 12-0 away from Waltham (including a pair of neutral court wins), leads the Northeast-10 in scoring margin (+14.9), three-point accuracy (.398) and defensive rebound percentage (.750).
St. Michael's is coming off a 77-69 win over Assumption, a game in which they outscored the Hounds 26-12 in the fourth to overcome a six-point deficit after three. Three players led the Purple Knights with 15 points apiece, including senior guard Emily Ferrari and sophomore guard Nicole Anderson. St. Michael's forced 19 turns and enjoyed an 18-6 advantage in points off.
Both of those players are averaging a team-best 13.1 points for the season. Anderson has buried 47 three-pointers and Ferrari is one of only two NE10 players with at least 150 rebounds, 80 assists and 40 steals.
St. Michael's is 11th in the Northeast-10 in scoring, averaging 63 points a game, and 13th in scoring defense (66.3).
In the first meeting this season, Bentley drained a school-record 16 three-pointers during a 91-56 victory. Six different players connected from deep, including four apiece from Meriggioli and Lewis, and the Falcons outscored the visitors 24-5 in the third quarter.
Bentley's final road game of the regular season will be Saturday at Merrimack and the final home game will be next Tuesday against Franklin Pierce.