Women's basketball rallies big before falling to No. 18 Bentley

Women's basketball rallies big before falling to No. 18 Bentley

WALTHAM, Mass. - The Saint Michael's College women's basketball team trimmed a 21-point deficit to two during the fourth quarter at nationally-ranked Bentley University on Wednesday before dropping a 68-50 decision in the Dana Center during Northeast-10 Conference play. The Purple Knights are 8-16 overall and 4-15 in the league, while the Falcons, who are tied for 18th in the latest D2SIDA National Media Poll, improved to 21-4 and 15-4. Bentley is also first in the NCAA East Region rankings.

Senior Makenzie Burud (Red Hook, N.Y./Coleman Catholic) posted her 11th double-double of the year for Saint Michael's, shooting 6-of-10 while collecting 14 points and 14 rebounds, with four on the offensive end. Classmate Megan Gaudreau (Brooklyn, Conn./Pomfret School) and sophomore Leah Spencer (Brockton, Mass./Archbishop Williams) both had 10 points, first-year Samantha Delaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) pulled eight rebounds and blocked three shots, while sophomore Maddy Bennett (Montpelier, Vt./U-32) had two rejections. The Purple Knights committed just 11 turnovers, including two in the second half.

Burud pushed her career point total to 1,197, as only eight players in program history have 1,200, while passing Tara Clark '00 (723) to claim eighth in rebounding (730). Her 235 caroms this season are the most since Liz LeFebvre '03 had 291 in 2002-03. Gaudreau took over ninth in school annals with her 57 three-pointers this winter, the highest figure by a Purple Knight since Brigid Hegarty '06 connected on 58 in 2005-06. Delaney pushed her blocks total to 32, good for 15th all-time.

Junior Jen Gemma led Bentley with 20 points and eight rebounds, while sophomore Macchi Smith and first-years Megan Lewis and Victoria Lux all had 10 points. Lux added eight boards, Lewis had seven, and Smith handed out six assists.

By the time Burud was the Purple Knights' fourth scorer of the game, Saint Michael's led 8-4 with 3:16 gone, but Gemma forged a tie with consecutive hoops. Bennett dropped home a lay-up to put the visitors back in front, but Smith scored five early points to kick off a 12-2 run around two Spencer free throws, and Bentley led 20-12 on sophomore Kristin Brown's three-pointer with 48 seconds left in the opening quarter.

Burud's jumper cut the deficit to six with 30 ticks left, and junior Indira Evora (Somerville, Mass./Somerville) knocked down a pair of freebies 35 seconds into the second quarter to keep Saint Michael's within 22-16, but sophomore Lauren Green buried two threes during a 14-3 run that pushed the Bentley advantage to 36-19. Gaudreau, who accounted for the three Purple Knight points in that stretch, connected on a trey with 2:40 left before her jumper made it 36-24 with 1:38 remaining for the final points of the half.

The Falcons scored the first nine points of the second half, with Gemma netting four, and the hosts led 45-24 with 6:55 to go in the third quarter. The Purple Knights responded with a 21-2 run over an ensuing 8:32 span, during which the visitors shot 8-of-14 while holding Bentley to a 1-of-11 performance. Burud had 10 points in the stretch, including the final eight, drawing Saint Michael's within 47-45 on a three-point play with 8:11 left in the fourth quarter. The Falcons countered with a 17-1 run, as the visitors were held without another field goal until Spencer scored with 2:41 left. First-year Taylor LaVallie (Uncasville, Conn./Montville) capped the scoring in the contest by grabbing an offensive rebound and knocking down a jumper with seven seconds to go.

The Purple Knights head to Assumption College on Saturday for a 1 p.m. contest.