March 13, 2009

Courtesy of Bentley Athletics

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Senior guard Kristy McLean (Staten Island, N.Y./Poly Prep HS) netted a career-best 27 points, but with the rest of the team struggling offensively, it wasn't enough as Bentley University was ousted from the 2009 NCAA Division II Women's Basketball East Regional, 71-59 by American International College Friday afternoon at the Holy Family University Campus Center Gym.

AIC featured a big two with sophomore guard Laechia Conley (Urbandale, Iowa) and six-foot-one junior Stacy Boisvert (Agawam, Mass.) combining for 48 points. Conley finished with 25 points, including 14 in the opening half, and Boisvert added 23, along with nine rebounds.

Both teams left the court with identical 21-12 records. However, the fifth-seeded Yellow Jackets will advance to take on top-seed Franklin Pierce Saturday evening and the Falcons will have to wait until next year to play again.

McLean, fouled while making a desperation three, made all three from the line with 4:58 left in the first half to give Bentley a 24-23 lead.  It proved to be the Falcons' final advantage of the 2008-09 season as the offense all but disappeared over the next 16 minutes, allowing the defensive-minded Yellow Jackets to open an 11-point lead, 46-35.

During that stretch, Bentley managed only 12 points and misfired on 21 of 23 field goal attempts. The Falcons made only one basket (in 16 attempts) during the first 10 minutes-plus of the second, and had five of those attempts blocked. 

Nonetheless, Bentley was still within reach as AIC was limited to 13 points over the first 11 minutes of the second. A McLean lay-up with 9:06 to play cut the Falcon deficit to nine, 46-37 with 9:06 to play.

The spread stayed between 8 and 12 until Bentley junior center Kelly Barrett (Middle Village, N.Y./Christ the King HS) buried a three-ball from the left corner with 3:10 left to make it a seven-point game, 55-48.

Bentley got no closer as AIC was sizzling at the line and converted 17 of 20 free throws the rest of the way to lock up the victory. Conley sank seven of eight and Boisvert six of eight.

Facing the top defensive club in the Northeast-10, Bentley shot only 27 percent overall with six of its 16 baskets coming in the final five minutes. McLean finished six of 12 but the rest of the club was a combined 10 of 47.

Meanwhile, AIC connected at a 40 percent clip and made half of its ten three-point attempts. In addition, the Jackets controlled the boards (46-34) and claimed the offensive rebound 14 times, resulting in 23 second-chance points.

McLean, playing in her final career game, also accumulated seven rebounds, three steals and a block. The All-Region selection sank three triples, converted 12 of 13 free throws and finished her career with 1,127 points, tying her for 20th on Bentley's all-time list.

The only other Falcon in doubles was sophomore guard Kim Brennan (Locust Valley, N.Y./Locust Valley HS), with 11. She missed her first 13 field goal attempts before finally getting a couple to drop in the final minute.

Freshman forward Shatasia Kearse (Framingham, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury HS) provided a lift off the bench finishing with nine points and seven rebounds. Junior forward Colette Josey (Boston, Mass./Framingham HS), who had been playing very well down the stretch, was scoreless in 12 foul-plagued minutes.

Conley finished 9 of 16 from the field and made 7 of 9 free throws while also contributing seven rebounds and three assists. Boisvert struggled early, missing her first six shots, but provided 15 second-half points. AIC also received 12 points and five blocks from junior guard Jeannette Johnathan (Central Islip, N.Y.).

Bentley coach Barbara Stevens, who led her team to the number four seed in the region despite having four players who missed all or nearly all of the season due to injury, will lose two seniors from this year's team. They are McLean and starting guard Angela Manfredi (Burton, Ohio/Berkshire HS), who finished with five points and two assists.