Worcester, Mass. (February 6) -- On Thursday night in Northeast-10 Conference play, the Assumption College women's basketball team dropped an 89-70 final to No. 1 ranked Bentley University in a rematch of last year's Northeast-10 Conference Championship Game. The loss is just the second of the season at home for the Hounds as the Falcons claim their ninth straight win in the all-time series.
Assumption jumped out to an early 6-0 edge after a jumper from senior Shannon Ray (Yonkers, N.Y./Ursuline Academy) just 2:20 into the game and stretched that to 9-2 moments later on a Ray three-pointer. Sophomore Kelly Conley (Ellington, Conn./Ellington) knocked down two free throws for the largest Hounds lead of the night at 13-5 with 14:14 remaining in the opening half. The hosts continued to lead at 16-9 after a Morgan O'Brien (Reading, Mass./Reading) three-pointer before an 11-5 Bentley run, capped by a pair of Christiana Bakolas free throws, pulled Bentley to within 21-20.
The Falcons took their first lead of the game with 9:46 remaining in the first period on a three from senior Caleigh Crowell and led by as many as 11 over the remainder of the half. A layup from senior Lauren Battista put Bentley ahead by double digits at 39-29 with 2:14 left before the Falcons took the eventual 44-34 lead into the halftime break.
Assumption shot 34.3 percent in the opening half, compared to 47.2 for the visiting Falcons. The two teams combined for just six turnovers in the first 20 minutes, but knocked down a combined nine threes. Ray led the Hounds with nine points in the first half, while Battista paced the Falcons with 11 points in 17 minutes of play.
Bentley started the second half quickly as the Falcons put together an 11-1 run, capped by two Crowell free throws, to push the edge to 55-35 just 3:57 into the period. The visitors led by 17 with 7:57 left in the half and then used an 8-0 run to extend the lead to a game-high 25 at 81-56 after a Battista jumper. The Hounds closed to within 16 with 1:03 left following a three from freshman Allison Stoddard (East Lyme, Conn./East Lyme) before the Falcons pulled out the 19-point final.
Ray led the Hounds with 16 points, along with 13 off the bench from O'Brien and 10 from junior Caitlin Ackerman (Nashua, N.H./Nashua South). The Hounds shot 34.4 percent from the field in the game and 84 percent from the free throw line, knocking down 21-of-25 attempts. After a close rebounding opening half, Bentley ended up with an eventual 44-30 edge on the glass that including a 31-21 margin on the defensive end.
Battista paced four Falcons in double figures with 21, along with 18 from Courtney Finn that included a 10-for-10 showing at the line. Crowell used four three-pointers to tally 17 points, along with 10 points and a team-high nine rebounds from Bakolas. Bentley finished the game shooting 50 percent from the field and 79.3 percent from the free throw line.
With the loss, Assumption falls to 12-8 overall and 8-7 in Northeast-10 Conference play, while Bentley remains perfect at 21-0 and 16-0 in the league.
Assumption is back in action on Saturday afternoon as the Hounds travel to Franklin Pierce University for a 1:30 p.m. start in Rindge, N.H.
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