WALTHAM, Mass. – Senior guard and co-captain Julia Ford (Charlton/Noble & Greenough School) came off the bench to score a career-high 15 points and four of the Falcons' five starters also scored in doubles as Bentley University defeated Stonehill College, 69-53, in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball Tuesday night on the Barbara Stevens Court.
The outcome left both teams with 4-2 overall records. It was Bentley's conference opener and Stonehill dipped to 1-1 in NE10 play.
There was very little separation in this one until Bentley finished with a 16-4 run. In front 53-49 with eight minutes to play, the Falcons scored the next nine to go up 62-49 with 4:09 to play. Senior forward Monica Viapiano (Holden/Holy Name HS) got it started with an inside basket, Ford scored the next five with a three from the left side and a driving lay-up, and junior guard Katie Meriggioli (Waunakee, Wisc./Edgewood HS) scored on another drive to the basket.
After a pair of Stonehill baskets, Bentley tallied the final seven points, including four from freshman guard Ella Thompson (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove HS).
The two teams were never separated by more than seven points in a low-scoring first half and it was a 30-28 Bentley lead with six-and-a-half minutes left in the third. A 12-5 run that included five points from Viapiano produced the biggest differential of the first three quarters, 42-33 with 3:50 left.
Bentley led 14-11 after the first following a Meriggioli three-pointer with two seconds left. Coach Barbara Stevens' team went into the half up five, 27-22, after limiting the Skyhawks to four points over the final seven minutes.
Ford made five of six shots overall, including both her three-pointers, and also had four rebounds. She finished at +25 for the game.
Viapiano and sophomore guard Kari Brekke (Appleton, Wisc./Appleton North HS) each scored 13 points and both Thompson and graduate guard Megan Lewis (Sevenoaks, England) had ten. Viapiano led Bentley in rebounds with nine.
Stonehill's top scorer was sophomore guard Isabella Santoro (Durham, Conn.) with a game-high 16.
Bentley outshot the visitors .455 to .313 and made six of the game's eight three-pointers. The Falcons also finished with five more free throws and ten more rebounds, 45-35.
This weekend, the Falcons will be in New York with games at Molloy College Saturday and at Saint Thomas Aquinas Sunday.