Mass. College Hoops: Bentley Wins East Regional, Advances To Elite Eight (VIDEO)

By NoontimeSports.com 

For the third time in four years, Bentley University’s women’s basketball team is headed to the NCAA Division 2 Elite Eight as the Falcons topped LIU Post, 83-62, in Waltham on Monday evening.

The win, which secured the Falcons a spot in the next round, also tied the school record for its longest winning streak. The Falcons are currently 32-0.

Jacqui Brugliera recorded a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Courtney Finn and Lauren Battista combined for 28 points, nine boards, seven assists and one block. Bentley converted 30 of 59 shots and sank 17 of 23 attempts at the free throw line.

Bentley will return to the hardwood next Tuesday, March 25 when they travel to Erie, Pennsylvania to face Drury, tip-off is slatted for 8:30 p.m.

Below is a highlight package, which was produced by Pack Network from last night’s tilt.

Mass. College Hoops: No. 1 Bentley Captures Fourth Straight NE-10 Championship

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Bentley University sports information department, here’s this afternoon’s release from the Falcons’ Northeast-10 Championship contest. Bentley won its fourth straight NE-10 Championship, while Lauren Battista eclipsed the 2,000-point mark for her career. Here’s the release:

WALTHAM, Mass. – Senior All-America forward Lauren Battista (North Easton/Oliver Ames HS) tied her career-best with 29 points, eclipsing the 2,000-mark for her career in the process, and collected an unprecedented fourth consecutive Northeast-10 Conference Championship MVP award as Bentley University put on a sparkling offensive performance en route to its fourth straight NE-10 title, 99-76 over Adelphi University Sunday afternoon at the Dana Center.

Bentley, the season-long number one in the USA TODAY Sports/WBCA Division II coaches’ poll, ran its record to 29-0 and clinched the automatic berth into next weekend’s NCAA Division II East Regional. It was the second time in conference history a team has won four straight conference championships, with his year’s group of Falcons duplicating their predecessors from 1998-2001. All-time,  Bentley has 18 NE-10 titles to its credit, including 10 in the last 17 years.

“I’m very proud of the way our team performed today,” said 14-time NE-10 Coach of the Year Barbara Stevens after her 911th career win. “I was happy to see us play a spirited game.  In the first half, we had a lot of offensive weapons and were also doing a good job defensively.”

Battista was nothing short of sensational in her school record 127th career start as she hit 11 of 17 shots overall, including three of five from downtown, and all four of her free throws. In addition, she provided six assists, four rebounds and one steal, and turned the ball over just once in 31 minutes of action.

Bentley’s all-time leading scorer joined the 2,000-point club with an inside move at 6:19 of the first half, a basket that made it 50-23 at the time. She had 21 points by the break, helping the Falcons 64 points (a school record for a half) and a 27-point lead, and finished the game with 2,011 for her career.

“Lauren gave us a player of the year performance today and showed her tremendous versatility,” said Stevens. “She’s a distributor, a scorer and she was also asked to cover Sade Jackson. I’m so glad she’s on our side.”

Not to be overshadowed was the performance of senior forward Caleigh Crowell (Harwich/ Worcester Academy), who drilled five three-pointers en route to a 22-point afternoon, 15 of which came before intermission.

After the Panthers , the top seed out of the NE-10’s Southwest Division, jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead, Bentley embarked on a 28-5 blitzing of the visitors over a span of six-and-a-half minutes. That produced a 30-11 lead with more than 12 minutes still left on the first-half clock and Adelphi (22-7) never got closer than 17 again.

“Our team was very ready to play, but I think their first three possessions got our attention,” said Stevens.

That 28-5 began with a dozen unanswered points, a run that featured eight points by Crowell. She got it going with a three from the right wing, and later added a lay-up and another trifecta during the spurt.

By the time freshman forward Jen Gemma (Milton/Fontbonne Academy) scored with 12:29 to make it a 30-11 game, Bentley was shooting a ridiculous 81 percent, having put 13 of 16 shots through the basket.

Battista’s 2,000th came in the midst of an 18-6 run that made it a 59-27 game with 2:44 left until the break. The final points during that span came on a three-ball from grad student Courtney Finn (Winthrop/Winthrop HS), Bentley’s 23rd field goal in 31 attempts.

It was more of the same throughout the first eight minutes of the second half. Adelphi netted the first basket when play resumed, but Bentley followed with a 21-6 explosion that made it a 40-point game, 85-45.

Battista and Crowell were followed in the scoring column by Finn and Gemma, with 16 and 14, respectively. Finn added eight rebounds, three assists and two steals, and Gemma helped out with six boards.

Bentley also received six points and seven rebounds apiece from seniors Jacqui Brugliera (Fitchburg/Wachusett Reg. HS) and Christiana Bakolas (Manchester, N.H./Central HS), with Bakolas also matching Battista’s six assists.

Senior guard Sade Jackson (Hackensack, N.J.) led Adelphi with 21 points and four assists, and classmate Jessica Kitrys (Parlin, N.J.) followed with 20 points. Both were plagued by turnovers (11 of the team’s 20) and fouls (four apiece).

Bentley shot 66 percent in the opening half, including 7-of-10 from three, and finished at .576 overall with 10 threes in 22 attempts. The Panthers were limited to 40 percent and were outrebounded by ten, 45-35.

The field for the NCAA Division II Championships will be announced during a selection show tonight at 10 pm athttp://www.ncaa.com/live/player?vid=2014/1345&date=2014/03/09.

Mass. College Hoops: NE-10 Quarterfinals Roundup

By NoontimeSports.com 

A few local squads competed in today’s Northeast-10 Conference Quarterfinals and below is their outcomes and summaries.

Men’s Basketball

St. A’s 79, Bentley 78: Roy Mabrey‘s jumper with 11 seconds remaining provided St. A’s with the lead for good as the Hawks edged the Falcons in Manchester. Tyler McFarland led Bentley with 20 points, as well as recorded eight rebounds, three blocks, two steals and one assist, while Alex Furness registered eight points, seven rebounds, five assists, one steal and one block.

Women’s Basketball

Assumption 61, New Haven 58: Jamie Insel recorded three straight layups during the final four minutes, while Shannon Ray and Caitlin Ackerman combined for the final three points as the Greyhounds defeated the Chargers in Connecticut. Ray recorded a team-best 21 points, while Insel finished with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Stonehill 75, AIC 60: Tori Faieta recorded a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds, along with four assists and four blocks as the Skyhawks soared past the Yellow Jackets in Easton. Stonehill’s Mary Louise Dixon led all scorers with 22 points, while Alyssa Roach paced AIC with 13 points.

Bentley 77, Le Moyne 51: Lauren Battista and Jacqui Brugliera combined for 25 points, 18 rebounds, seven assists, four steals and one block as the Falcons defeated the Dolphins in Waltham.

Mass. College Hoops: Bentley’s Stevens Earns 900th Win & Battista Breaks Scoring Record

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Bentley University sports information department, here’s tonight’s release from today’s women’s basketball game. Bentley head coach Barbara Stevens earned her 900th win, while Lauren Battista became the all-time leading scorer in the storied program’s history:

WALTHAM, Mass. – History was made at the Dana Center Saturday afternoon as Bentley University’ Barbara Stevens became only the sixth women’s basketball coach in NCAA history to reach the 900-win plateau and Falcon senior All-America Lauren Battista (North Easton/Oliver Ames HS) became the all-time leading scorer in the storied program’s history.

The 98-82 Northeast-10 Conference win over Saint Anselm College, Bentley’s 18th without a loss this season, lifted Stevens, a 2006 inductee into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, to 900-246 over 37 years, including 743-155 in 28 seasons with the Falcons. She’s the third fastest to reach 900, behind only Pat Summitt (Tennessee) and Tara VanDerveer (Stanford).

“This was a tremendous opportunity to reflect on a career that I’ve been so blessed to have,” said Stevens, who was able to reach 900 on the day her program was having its annual alumni day. “It’s not about me, but all the tremendous players and assistant coaches we’ve had.”

Battista, a two-time WBCA All-America and Capital One Academic All-America® who now has 1,804 points, entered the game needing 17 points to eclipse Kelly Barker (1,800 from 1997-2001) for the top spot on the list and she got it done in a first half that ended with the nation’s number one-ranked Division II team up 22, 58-36.

“Lauren has done everything we’ve asked, and has done so within the framework of our offensive system,” praised Stevens. “She is one of the best we’ve ever had.”

The milestone points came on a turn-around jumper in the paint with 1:06 left on the first-half clock. Battista, who began the day third on Bentley’s all-time scoring list, tied number two Alison Fay ’84 at 1,792 with a three-point play with 5:55 left. She scored five unanswered in a stretch of 58 seconds to pull within three of Barker with 2:49 til intermission and got within one with a lay-up with 1:27 left, that basket giving the Falcons their first 50-point first-half of the season.

Battista totaled 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting and also provided three assists and two rebounds before exiting the game for good with 10:19 to play and Bentley up 26 at 85-59.

“This was a tremendous accomplishment for Lauren, but she and the rest of the team know they have more to achieve,” said Stevens.

Grad student Courtney Finn (Winthrop/Winthrop HS) led Bentley with 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists as she enjoyed an outstanding shooting day, as did most of the Falcons. Finn made seven of eight overall, including four three-pointers, and was perfect on three free throw attempts.

Junior guard Kelsey Mattice (Cicero, N.Y./Cicero North Syracuse HS) added 15 points off the bench, freshman forward Jen Gemma (Milton/Milton HS) helped out with 12 points and six rebounds, and senior forward Jacqui Brugliera (Fitchburg/Wachusett Reg. HS) missed only one shot during a 11-point, six-rebound effort.

Bentley took the lead for good with a 19-6 first-half run that made it a 27-14 game with 9:39 left. Brugliera got things started, hitting a three from the top of the key to break an 8-8 tie and following with a fast-break lay-up.

A 15-8 run over the first four minutes of the second half produced Bentley’s biggest lead, 73-44. At that juncture, Stevens’ club was shooting a ridiculous 69 percent, 25 of 36, with 10 three-pointers.

In its most productive offensive game of the season, Bentley finished with season-bests in points, points in a half, field goal percentage (.614) and three-point accuracy (.524). Saint Anselm (10-9, 6-8 NE-10) became the first team to exceed 68 points against the Falcon D this season and finished with a .443 field goal percentage.

Freshman guard Candace Andrews (Boston, Mass.) led four double-figure scorers for Saint Anselm, finishing with 20 points before fouling out.

Bentley, 13-0 in conference play, continues to lead the Northeast-10’s Northeast Division by four-and-a-half games. The Falcons are back on the Dana Center court Wednesday with a 5:30 pm game against The College of Saint Rose.

Mass. College Hoops: No. 1 Bentley 77, No. 21 Adelphi 66

By Brian Willwerth 

WALTHAM, Mass. – This was a matchup between the top two teams in the Northeast-10, both of whom are ranked nationally.

No. 1 Bentley had four players in double-figures – three of them with double-doubles – as the Falcons were able to hold off No. 21 Adelphi on Wednesday night, 77-66.

“It was a good win,” said Bentley head coach Barbara Stevens. “I told our team before the game that it was a measuring stick to see where we both are (at this point of the season).”

Lauren Battista was Bentley’s leading scorer with 19 points. The Falcons got double-doubles from Jacqui Brugliera (13 points and 14 rebounds), Courtney Finn (13 points and 13 rebounds) and Christiana Bakolas (16 points and 10 rebounds.)

The Falcons dominated in the paint, outscoring the Panthers, 38-26. Bentley also held a 20-7 advantage in points off turnovers and a 20-5 edge in second-chance points.

“We felt like we had an advantage over them with our post-player depth,” said Stevens. “When we had some matchup mismatches, I think we took advantage.”

Adelphi’s Sade Jackson led all scorers with 20, while Jessica Kitrys added 16 for the visitors.

For Stevens, this was career win No. 897. Her team is now 15-0 on the season, and will travel to American International on Saturday.