By Brian Willwerth
WALTHAM, MA – This matchup of unbeatens turned into one of those two-games-in-one contests. The difference: Bentley’s first half was bigger than Stonehill’s second half.
The No.2 Falcons took over sole possession of first place in the Northeast-10 Conference with a 66-50 victory over the Skyhawks on Saturday afternoon at the Dana Center.
The first-half numbers were mind-boggling in favor of the home team. Bentley delivered the knockout punch by going on a 30-0 run. The Falcons held Stonehill scoreless for nearly 15 minutes. Bentley shot 52% from the field to 12% for Stonehill. The Falcons also held dominating advantages in the paint, off the bench, and points off turnovers. The score was 49-11 at halftime.
“I saw terrific defensive effort, which gave us momentum at the offensive end,” said Bentley head coach Barbara Stevens of her team’s first half performance. “Our intensity was very, very good.”
“I thought Bentley did a great job taking us out of our offensive schemes,” said Stonehill head coach Trisha Brown. “You can see, mentally, we definitely broke down in the first half.”
In the second half, you could pretty much flip the stats around. It was Stonehill, which played better, shooting 50% from the field. The Skyhawks outscored the Falcons by 22 in the second stanza, too.
“It was almost like, it was a script. I talked about every single possible pitfall that we could face in the second half,” said Stevens.
“I said ‘we do not want to come back into this locker room feeling like a great first half was wasted’ and really that’s what happened.”
But the 38-point halftime deficit was just too much for Stonehill to overcome.
Bentley had three players in double figures: Lauren Battista (13 points), Courtney Finn and Christiana Bakolas (10 each). Stonehill got 14 points from Tori Faieta.
The rematch between these two teams comes on February 23, but in the meantime, Bentley plays at Dowling on Tuesday night, while Stonehill doesn’t take the court again until Dec. 29, against Georgian Court University.