Sunday, December 19, 2010

Stevens Earns 800th Career Win in Convincing Fashion as #24 Bentley Rolls to 93-60 Win over C.W. Post

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Bentley University’s Barbara Stevens became the fifth women’s basketball coach in NCAA history to amass 800 career wins as five double-figure scorers led the 24th-ranked (Division II) Falcons to an impressive 93-60 victory over visiting C.W. Post  Sunday afternoon at the Dana Center.
Stevens, 800-236 in 34 years as a head coach and 643-145 in 25 Bentley seasons, joins Pat Summitt (Tennessee), Jody Conradt (Texas), C. Vivian Stringer (Rutgers) and Sylvia Hatchell (North Carolina) on the 800-win list. Of those four, only Summitt achieved the milestone in fewer contests than Stevens’ 1036. A sixth could join the list later on Sunday when Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer seeks her 800th at Tennessee.
Leading the attack for the 7-1 Falcons were senior forward Elise Caira (Wakefield/Arlington Catholic HS) with 20 points and nine boards, freshman post Jacqui Brugliera (Fitchburg/Wachusett Reg. HS) with 18 points and a career-best 15 rebounds off the bench, and junior guard Meghan Thomann (Andover/Andover HS) with five three-pointers in six attempts.
The C.W. Post Pioneers, 5-4, stayed with the Falcons for much of the first half, but a run of 12-4 over the final 3:20 sent Stevens’ club into the halftime break up 13, 46-33. The closing surge began with a three-point play by freshman guard Christiana Bakolas (Manchester, N.H./Central HS), following a Caira steal. Freshman forward Lauren Battista (North Easton/Oliver Ames HS) scored the next six for the Falcons and Thomann drained her fourth triple of the half.
A strong showing by the bench (23 points), the ability to control the boards (a 24-17 advantage) and excellent ball movement (13 assists on 17 baskets) contributed to the 13-point halftime lead. Thomann led the Falcon reserves with 12 points and Battista topped the starters with 10.
After the first four points of the second half went up on the Pioneers’ side of the scoreboard, Bentley opened the game up with a Caira-fueled 14-4 run. She had ten of the 14 during the spurt that extended the lead to 19, 60-41 with 15 minutes left.
A 4-0 mini-run by C.W. Post that cut the spread to 15 was more than answered as Bentley countered with 13 straight points. Senior guard Kim Brennan (Locust Valley, N.Y./Locust Valley HS), who became the 10th player in the program’s history to surpass 1,400 career points, scored the first five. Thomann followed with her fifth three-ball, and Brugliera netted the next five, making it 73-45 midway through the second half.
Caira, who came within one of her career scoring high and one rebound of a double-double, finished six of ten from the field and eight of ten from the foul line. Brugliera achieved her big afternoon in 23 minutes of action, and Thomann, who entered the game with the best three-point shooting percentage in Division II, raised her accuracy mark from outside the arc to .677 with her five-of-six performance.
Battista provided 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and Brennan completed the list of double-figure scorers with 12 points.
Bentley shot 49 percent for the game while amassing 46 points in the paint, 17 off turnovers, 20 on second chance opportunities and 13 on the fast break. The Falcon non-starters nearly scored half of the team’s points, finishing with 44 on 16-of-30 from the floor.
C.W. Post, the preseason favorite in the East Coast Conference, was led by senior guard Janea Aiken (St. Albans, N.Y.), with 18 points and five assists. The Pioneers were held to a .365 field goal percentage, were forced into 18 turnovers, and were outrebounded by 14, 47-33.
Bentley plays its next three contests on the road, beginning with Bridgeport and Dowling Dec. 29-30 in the Southern New Hampshire University Tournament.                    

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