Purple Knights notch season-best 13 steals, fall to No. 2 Bentley

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's basketball team dropped a 54-42 decision to nationally-ranked Bentley University in a Northeast-10 Conference tilt that saw a combined 31 steals on Wednesday at Ross Sports Center. With the defeat, the Purple Knights drop to 1-4 overall and 0-3 in the league, while the Falcons, who are ranked second in this week's USA TODAY national poll, improve to 4-0 and 3-0.

Senior Nicole Adach (Schenectady, N.Y./Mohonasen) netted a game-high 16 points, hitting 8-of-9 from the field, while adding five rebounds and four steals. Junior Cara Deroy (Hamden, Conn./Hamden) tallied seven points, five assists and three steals, and senior Megan Olsen (Glenmont, N.Y./Bethlehem Central) contributed seven points and three steals. First-year Makenzie Burud (Red Hook, N.Y./Coleman Catholic) added six points and five boards, while junior Alexa Long (Waterford, Conn./Waterford) finished with five rebounds and a pair of steals. Saint Michael's recorded a season-high 13 steals.

Junior Jacqui Brugliera (Fitchburg, Mass./Wachusett Regional) scored 11 points and recorded eight rebounds for a Bentley team that has reached 29 of the last 31 NCAA Tournaments, including appearances in the last two Elite Eights. Sophomore Kelsey Mattice (Cicero, N.Y./Cicero North Syracuse) also had 11 points, while junior Lauren Battista (North Easton, Mass./Oliver Ames) notched 10 points, four boards and three assists. Senior Courtney Finn (Winthrop, Mass./Winthrop) added seven points, five rebounds and two steals, and junior Christiana Bakolas (Manchester, N.H./Manchester Central) finished with five points, five assists and three steals.

Adach converted a pair of lay-ups for the Purple Knights as the teams traded the first 12 points. Battista hit back-to-back shots to put the Falcons on top, 10-6, but Deroy netted consecutive baskets during a 40-second span, and Adach and Burud each had go-ahead lay-ups, with Burud giving the Purple Knights a 14-12 advantage at 10:31. After Bentley forged back in front, Deroy knocked down a three-pointer to provide a 17-16 edge at 9:16, but Bentley countered with a 21-2 run that bridged halftime. The Falcons received two three-pointers from Mattice in the stretch and seven points from Brugliera, who capped the run with a lay-up at 17:31 of the second half to give the visitors a 37-19 lead.

After tallying five of its 18 steals in the first half, Bentley notched four more thefts in the opening 2:23 of the second half, with Bakolas recording three. The Purple Knights notched four steals of their own over a 2:39 stretch while trimming their deficit to 13 before Bentley tallied six during a 3:19 span en route to scoring 10 straight points and moving in front, 54-29, on Finn's lay-up at 6:01 for the Falcons' largest lead. Olsen scored seven points in a game-ending 13-0 Saint Michael's run that was capped with a Burud lay-up with three ticks remaining.

The Purple Knights return to action on Saturday, when they travel to face Stonehill College for a 1:30 p.m. contest.