WALTHAM, Mass. - The Saint Michael's College women's basketball team scored 50 second-half points to trim a sizeable deficit to 10 in the closing minutes of an 81-68 loss to No. 1 Bentley University on Saturday in Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division play in the Dana Center. The Purple Knights are now 2-6 overall and 1-4 in the NE-10, while the Falcons are 9-0 and 6-0. Bentley, whose national ranking is according to this week's USA TODAY poll, has qualified for 30 of the past 32 NCAA Tournaments, including the last three Elite Eights.
Senior Alexa Long (Waterford, Conn./Waterford) had a game-high 19 points for the Purple Knights, shooting 7-of-13 overall and 3-for-4 from three-point range in addition to collecting eight rebounds and three assists. Classmate Cara Deroy (Hamden, Conn./Hamden) had 14 points, eight assists and four steals, shooting 2-for-3 from deep, while sophomore Makenzie Burud (Red Hook, N.Y./Coleman Catholic) posted 13 points, 10 rebounds - eight offensive - and five steals. First-year Indira Evora (Somerville, Mass./Somerville) notched six points and three steals, as Saint Michael's forced a season-high-tying 21 Bentley turnovers.
Graduate student Courtney Finn (Winthrop, Mass./Winthrop) led Bentley with 16 points thanks to 3-for-6 three-point shooting, and senior Lauren Battista (North Easton, Mass./Oliver Ames) totaled 15 points, five boards and four assists. Classmate Jacqui Brugliera (Fitchburg, Mass./Wachusett Regional) had 13 points and five rebounds, and first-year Jen Gemma (Milton, Mass./Fontbonne Academy) notched 11 points and five rebounds.
Bentley scored the game's first five points before Burud dropped in a lay-up at 19:35 of the opening period, and Long's bucket at 16:23 later brought Saint Michael's within 10-4. From there, the Falcons scored 29 of the next 33 points to forge a 39-8 lead with 6:11 left in the opening half. Bentley pushed its lead to as many as 32 at 48-16 before the Purple Knights countered with a 10-2 run, as Long buried a pair of three-pointers in that time to bring her team within 50-26 at 16:24 of the second half. Gemma's lay-up still had Bentley on top by a 75-50 score with 4:36 left in regulation, but Saint Michael's put together a 16-1 run, keyed by five points from Evora and Long, with Burud's jumper at 1:25 producing a 76-66 margin. However, Bentley shot 5-for-6 on freebies in the final 1:06 to ice the victory.
Saint Michael's breaks for exam week before hosting Merrimack College on Dec. 17 at 5:30 p.m.