WALTHAM, Mass. — Senior forward Shatasia Kearse scored 10 of her career-high 16 points during a 25-0 second-half explosion and sophomore forward Lauren Battista netted a game-high 17 as No. 2 Bentley led from start to finish en route to a 74-46 win against Massachuset-Lowell on Wednesday.
Bentley improved its record to 3-0 with the victory in its home and conference opener, with all three wins decided by at least 25 points. UMass-Lowell fell to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the NE-10.
The Falcons established control early in the contest, opening a 15-2 lead in nine minutes after the River Hawks scored on only one of their first 17 possessions. Battista had five of the 15 and both senior guard Meghan Thomann and junior guard Kelsey Roberson connected from downtown.
Bentley emerged from a turnover-laden first half with a 29-17 lead, largely due to the efforts of Battista. She had 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting while the rest of the squad was just 5 of 17.
A little more than a minute into the second half, the Falcon lead had shriveled to seven points as the River Hawks scored the first five once play resumed. Sophomore forward Dominique Pagan converted a three-point play and senior forward Sha’Nay Bushner made two from the stripe.
Bentley responded by scoring the next five points, including three by Battista, to restore the lead to double figures 34-22.
With the score at 40-28 with 14:35 left, Bentley ran off the next 25 points as the visitors remained stuck on 28 for the next seven minutes and 44 seconds. Kearse played a major role in the run, with 10 points, including eight of the first 10, with three of her baskets assisted by junior guard Chrystal Guarin. Elise Caira was also active in the decisive surge, with four rebounds, two points, an assist and a steal.
Battista finished six of nine from the floor, and also had four rebounds. Kearse came off the bench to hit seven of nine, and also filled the stat sheet with four rebounds, two blocks, two steals and two assists.
Guarin and Roberson each scored seven points, and provided seven and six assists, respectively. Guarin also came up with three of the Falcons’ 17 steals, with senior guard Lauren Massie leading the team in that category with four. Bentley dominated the boards 40-28 with sophomore forward Jacqui Brugliera grabbing eight and Caira six.
Bentley finished the game with a .521 field goal percentage, including .625 during a 45-point second half. The Falcons also had a huge advantage at the foul line, missing more than the River Hawks attempted. They were 22 of 35, including a 7-of-12 effort from Guarin, who took three more than Lowell (7-12) did as a team.
UMass-Lowell, which was limited to 31 percent shooting and forced into 29 turnovers, received 12 points from both Bushner and sophomore guard Danielle DePierro.