No. 1 Bentley tops Franklin Pierce
Battista scores 21 points to lead the Falcons to the victory
RINDGE, N.H. -- Lauren Battista scored ten of her game-high 21 points during a game-ending 29-6 run and Courtney Finn had her first career double-double as Bentley finished strong for a 73-59 win against Franklin Pierce in Northeast-10 Conference action Wednesday night.
Bentley had to overcome a nine-point second-half deficit to improve to 8-0 overall and 6-0 in the NE-10. Franklin Pierce, limited to only six points in the final 14:30, suffered its first loss, falling to 6-1 overall and 5-1 in the conference.
The Falcons, who led by as many as 12 in the first half, found themselves on the short end of a 48-39 score about three minutes into the second half. Franklin Pierce, down two at the break, opened the second with a 12-1 spurt, including three-pointers from both junior Tiffany Johnson and sophomore Kate McDonald.
Bentley was still down nine, 53-44, when consecutive free throws by sophomores Jacqui Brugliera and Christiana Bakolas ignited a 10-2 surge that brought the Falcons within one, 55-54. Senior guard Katherine Goodwin scored the final six for the Falcons, capping the run with a triple from the corner.
Following a turn-around jumper by Johnson with 10:12 left, the Falcons defense held them scoreless over the next nine minutes while the offense was running off 14 unanswered points, including eight by Battista. Two free throws by Battista, following an offensive rebound, put Bentley in front to stay with 8:48 left.
Franklin Pierce, which hit nine of 18 three-pointers over the game's first 22:20, couldn't have been any colder over the final 14:30. The Ravens missed 17 of their final 19 shots and were also forced into 11 turnovers in that stretch.
The game opened with Bentley scoring the first eight points, five by Battista and the other three on a trey from senior guard Meghan Thomann. After the Ravens closed to within two at 16-14, the Falcons regained control, using a Finn-fueled 12-2 spurt to stretch the lead to 12, 28-16.
Led by McDonald, Franklin Pierce battled back to even the game at 36, and Bentley needed a short jumper from Battista in the waning seconds of the half to go into the locker room up a pair, 38-36.
Battista, in addition to 21 points, had five rebounds, two assists and a couple steals in 31 turnover-free minutes. Brugliera followed with 13 points and eight rebounds, and Finn's night included 12 points, a career-high 10 rebounds (six of those offensive) and three steals. Goodwin was the only other Falcon with more than four as she gave her team eight off the bench.
In Bentley's visit to the Fieldhouse last year, Jewel White and Marielle Giroud teamed for 61 points in a 90-87 OT win for the Ravens. This time, the Falcons kept both seniors under control with White finishing with 14 points, 10 below her season-norm, and 11 rebounds, and Giroud netting only seven before fouling out.
McDonald led FPU in scoring, her 15 points nearing matching the 17 she had in the season's first six games.
Bentley outshot the hosts 44-37 percent, had 18 more free throw attempts (19-24 as compared to 5-6) and dominated the boards, 43-32.