Bentley  Athletics

WORCESTER, Mass. -- Freshman forwards Jacqui Brugliera (Fitchburg/Wachusett Reg. HS) and Lauren Battista (North Easton/Oliver Ames HS) scored 19 and 14 points, respectively, as Bentley University regained sole possession of first place in the Northeast-10 Conference with a 67-61 win against Assumption College in women’s college basketball Saturday afternoon at the Laska Gymnasium.

Bentley, ranked 15th nationally in Division II before falling to American International College Tuesday night, improved to 13-2 overall and 10-1 in the NE-10 following its 13th win in 14 games. Assumption, which entered the game tied with the Falcons in the conference standings, dropped to 11-4 overall and 9-2 NE-10.

Both Brugliera and Battista came up big in the final minute when the Falcons were trying to hold on to a lead that had dwindled from 11 to one. The final 55 seconds saw Brugliera contribute four points, a rebound and an assist and Battista provide two points, a rebound and a steal during the final 55 seconds.

After the Falcon lead stood at 60-59 for more than two minutes, a Battista lay-up, off a Brugliera feed, put Bentley up three at 62-59 with 52.7 seconds left. Assumption answered right back on a driving lay-up by freshman Shannon Ray (Yonkers, N.Y.), again making it a one-point game. Senior guard Kim Brennan (Locust Valley, N.Y./Locust Valley) got the ball to Battista inside and the freshman hit a four-footer to give Bentley the three-point lead back with 26 seconds left.

Battista came up with a steal on the ensuing Hound possession, but after being fouled, was unable to capitalize at the line. Assumption junior forward Kelly Meredith (Franklin), the game’s top scorer with 25 points, was fouled in the rebounding action, but like Battista, was unable to take advantage, missing the front end of a one-and-one with 13.9 seconds.

Brugliera grabbed the rebound, was fouled, and sank both from the stripe with 13.2 seconds left to make it a five-point game. One of two free throws from sophomore guard Kelsey Roberson (Arlington/Arlington Catholic HS) with 5.4 seconds on the clock closed out the scoring for the Falcons.

After the two teams were never separated by more than four points over the first 13 minutes, a 7-0 run, fueled by a pair of three-pointers from junior guard Katherine Goodwin (Goffstown, N.H./Governor’s Academy), opened a nine-point lead for the Falcons at 30-21. The teams took turns scoring over the remainder of the half with Bentley going into the locker room up seven, 38-31.

Brugliera (12 points on 5-6 shooting) and Goodwin (10) accounted for a large portion of the Falcons’ first-half scoring while Meredith, the conference’s top scorer, carried Assumption with 15 points. She was seven of nine from the field while her teammates were just six of 22 in the opening stanza.

Baskets by Battista and Brugliera early in the second half pushed the Bentley lead to ten, 42-32, and the differential peaked at 11 with 17:34 left when Roberson buried a 3 from the left corner.

Assumption used a 10-2 spurt to get back in the game and it remained a one- or two-possession game for the final 14:50.

Brugliera, seven of nine from the field and perfect on five free throw attempts, also had nine rebounds, two steals, two assists and a block. Battista made six of ten shots and also had five rebounds and two steals.

Goodwin joined those two in double figures with 10 and junior post Shatasia Kearse (Framingham/ Lincoln-Sudbury Reg. HS) provided nine points and eight rebounds.

Meredith, the only Assumption player to score in doubles, made 10 of 13 overall and also had four rebounds and three assists.

Bentley’s six-point margin of victory matched its advantage at the line (13-7) with the visiting Falcons attempting twice as many free throws as Assumption (20-10).