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basketball-women-d2 flag | January 29, 2014

DII: Nova Southeastern hits stride in the middle

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Fifth-ranked Nova Southeastern moved to 7-1 as they finished the first run through the Sunshine State Conference, and 16-1 overall, outlasting Saint Leo on Wednesday at the NSU Arena 85-76.

Both teams shot well in the first half of play, though the Sharks took an 11-point lead 44-33 with 2:02 left to go before the break. Saint Leo (14-4, 5-3 SSC) countered with a mini-run of 8-2 to end the half to make it 46-41. At that point, the Lions were shooting 53 percent, while the Sharks were a bit better, 57 percent, while making 6-of-14 from behind the arc.

Saint Leo continued to chip into the lead as the second half began, extending that 8-2 spurt out to 14-4 and just a one-point deficit 48-47 with 17:10 left.

Quickly, the Sharks scored the next seven, on layups from Danielle Robinson and Jasmine Wilkins, followed by a 3-pointer by Robinson. The game was literally back-and-forth from then on, for the remaining 15:57. The Shark lead was never less than four or any more than 10.

With 10:32 to go, Saint Leo cut it to four (57-53), but back-to-back 3-pointers by Molly Blomer and Ashley Robinson in a span of 22 seconds pushed the team back out ahead by 10 63-53.

It would be a four-point spread again at 6:21 (68-64), and finally, at 1:58 (79-75). In the latter stretch until the final horn, the Sharks outscored the Lions 6-1 to provide the ending margin.

Danielle Robinson scored a season-high 25 points to lead all scorers. She was 9-of-15 overall, 3-of-6 from behind the arc and made all four of her free throws. She also had eight rebounds and four steals.

No. 1 Bentley 80, Saint Rose 49

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Senior All-America Lauren Battista, All-Region graduate student Courtney Finn and six-foot-one senior Caleigh Crowell combined for 52 points and 18 rebounds to power Bentley to an 80-49 win against Saint Rose in Northeast-10 Conference action on Wednesday night.

Battista topped the scoring list with 20 points and also provided five rebounds and five assists, and Finn followed with a 19-point, 10-rebound double-double. Crowell matched Finn's three trifectas and finished with 13 points.

The win boosted the Falcons to 19-0 overall, matching the third best start to a season in program history, and 14-0 in the conference. Saint Rose, which trailed after a Battista broke a 2-2 tie 2:15 into the game, dropped to 9-10 overall and 4-9 NE-10.

No. 5 Gannon 65, California (Pa.) 57

CALIFORNIA, Pa. -- Gannon captured its first regular-season series sweep against Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West Division opponent California (Pa.) Vulcans since the 2009-10 season with a 65-57 victory, at the Convocation Center on Wednesday evening. The Lady Knights improved to 19-1 on the season and 8-1 in divisional play, while the Vulcans slid to 11-7 overall and 5-4 in the division. The win marked the Lady Knights first victory at the Convocation Center, snapping the Vulcans' five-game unbeaten streak on home court.

The Lady Knights were led by senior Jen Papich with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while playing every second of the game in a season-high 40 minutes. Papich picked up her third double-double of the season and sixth of her career. Junior Nettie Blake tallied 18 points and pulled in six boards. Off the bench, sophomore Morgan Neighbors accounted for 11 of the Lady Knights' 15 bench points, adding four rebounds in a career game-high 26 minutes.