RINDGE, N.H. — Juniors Marielle Giroud and Jewel White combined for 61 points and 33 rebounds as Franklin Pierce outlasted conference-leading No. 17 Bentley 90-87 in overtime in Northeast-10 action on Saturday afternoon at the FPU Field House.
Giroud poured in 35 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and handed out seven assists while White had a rare 20-20, finishing with 26 points and 20 rebounds.
Spoiled with the loss was a 32-point, 13-rebound effort by Bentley post Jacqui Brugliera, a scoring output that matched the most ever by a Falcon freshman.
Bentley had previously clinched a tie for the NE-10 regular-season title but was denied in its bid to wrap up its 19th championship outright. The Falcons, 21-4 overall and 18-3 NE-10, now lead the conference by a game ahead of both Franklin Pierce (21-6, 17-4) and Assumption (a 75-59 winner at Le Moyne), with all having one game left in the regular season.
This was a back-and-forth contest. Bentley trailed by as many as 14 in the first half, turned the game around to take a 10-point lead midway through the second half, and trailed by nine with 2:30 left in regulation before battling back to force the OT. The five-minute extra session saw the lead change six times before the Ravens pulled out the victory.
After Franklin Pierce reeled off 19 consecutive points to turn a 10-point Falcon advantage into a 76-67 lead with 2:30 left, Bentley finished regulation with an 11-2 run. Junior guard Meghan Thomann began the comeback with a 3-pointer. Following a Raven turnover, freshman forward Lauren Battista hit a shot in the lane to draw the Falcons within four.
Giroud was whistled for an offensive foul on her team’s ensuing possession, and Battista answered with a driving lay-up, making it a 76-74 game with 1:06 left. Giroud sank one of two from the line, Brugliera followed with a put-back to cut the difference to one, and FPU freshman Kate McDonald hit the first of two free throws for a two-point Raven lead 78-76 with 20.7 seconds left.
Battista claimed the rebound when McDonald missed the second and Bentley coach Barbara Stevens called a timeout with 10.7 seconds left. Sophomore guard Courtney Finn inbounded the ball to Brugliera, who hit the game-tying lay-up with 4.6 on the clock. The Ravens had time for a final shot, but McDonald’s runner in the lane at the buzzer was off the mark, and the two winningest teams in the region were headed to overtime.
Bentley took the lead in overtime three times, the last at 85-84 on a pair of free throws by Finn with 1:30 left after she was fouled while grabbing an offensive rebound. White countered with a three-point play, and a Brugliera put-back with a minute left knotted the game at 87.
After a Battista steal, Brugliera couldn’t get a lay-up to fall and White was fouled in the rebounding action. She sank both free throws, giving her team an 89-87 lead with 20.2 seconds left. White delivered at the defensive end on the next play, blocking Battista’s shot with 7.9 seconds remaining. Giroud made it a three-point game by hitting one of two free throws, and Battista’s 3 just before the buzzer was off-target.
Franklin Pierce had the hot hand early, shooting 59 percent during the first nine minutes to open a 25-11 lead. The next 20-plus minutes belonged to the visitors with Bentley outscoring the Ravens 50-26 open a 10-point lead. It was still a 10-point game with a little more than seven minutes left before Franklin Pierce ran off the 19-0 run.
Brugliera, the first Bentley freshman to have a 30-point game since Kim Cummings put up 32 against Norfolk State in the 1993 NCAA quarterfinals, finished 11 of 23 from the field and nine of 11 from the foul line. Four of her rebounds were at the offensive end, and she also had three steals.
Battista followed with 17 points, eight rebounds and three steals, and senior guard Kim Brennan provided 11 points and seven assists. Finn had a solid game off the bench with 10 points and five rebounds, and junior forward Shatasia Kearse finished with 11 rebounds and eight points.
Brennan’s 11 pushed her career total to 1,588, moving her past Becky Davison and Kim Penwell into sixth on Bentley’s all-time scoring list.
Franklin Pierce shot better (47 percent to 40 percent) and had the rebounding advantage (48-44), but Bentley took better care of the ball with only 11 turns to FPU’s 18. That produced 10 more shot attempts for the Falcons and a 21-10 edge in points off turnovers.