COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's basketball team saw nationally-regarded Bentley University rally for a 77-71 victory on Saturday during Northeast-10 Conference play in Ross Sports Center. The Purple Knights are 3-6 overall and 1-5 in the league, while the Falcons moved to 8-2 and 4-2.
Saint Michael's, which returned to action for the first time since last Saturday, began a three-game homestand with just its third home contest of the season. Bentley is receiving votes toward the latest USA TODAY national poll while sitting sixth in the D2SIDA East Region Media Poll.
Junior Indira Evora (Somerville, Mass./Somerville) set career highs with 23 points and seven three-pointers, shooting 7-of-9 from deep while adding two steals. She was two triples shy of Christine Frauton's '00 16-year-old school record. Senior Makenzie Burud (Red Hook, N.Y./Coleman Catholic) tallied her fourth double-double of the winter behind 17 points and 11 rebounds, pushing her career point total to 980 and passing Karen Monahan '92 (974) to take over 20th in program history. Burud also moved past Lynne Liebhauser '94 (581) to claim 12th in school annals with 589 rebounds.
Sophomore Leah Spencer (Brockton, Mass./Archbishop Williams) notched 13 points, four assists, two steals and a block off the bench, as Saint Michael's committed only seven turnovers and shot 9-of-19 from beyond the arc. First-year Samantha Delaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) tacked on seven points, five boards and a rejection, while senior Megan Gaudreau (Brooklyn, Conn./Pomfret School) handed out three assists.
Junior Jen Gemma led Bentley with 21 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks, hauling in seven offensive boards, while first-year Victoria Lux shot 7-of-9 en route to 16 points with 11 boards, five offensive caroms and three helpers. Sophomore Lauren Green added 18 points and three assists, shooting 7-of-11 overall and 4-of-7 from three.
After two early ties, Green knocked down a three-pointer to give Bentley its first edge, 7-6, before the Purple Knights countered with a 26-9 run that took 7:58 to elapse, and the hosts led 32-16 at 7:33 of the second quarter. Evora canned four triples in that time, netting 12 points, while Burud had four points and two assists. Delaney added four points. The Falcons chipped their deficit to single digits as Green and senior Jane White hit back-to-back treys, capping a 7-0 run, but Evora knocked down her fifth trey to push the lead back to 35-23 at 5:29.
Bentley trimmed the hole to three twice before the half ended, including when Gemma's three-point play with 1:09 left made it 39-36, but sophomore Maddy Bennett (Montpelier, Vt./U-32) hit a free throw and Burud dropped in a lay-up to give their squad a 42-36 edge at intermission.
Green's triple tied the game at 7:53 of the third period, as the visitors scored the first six points of the second half, and Gemma had four points toward the end of the 12-2 run, putting the Falcons in front by a 48-44 count. Evora answered with another trey, and sophomore Tomi Akinpetide (Sydney, Australia/Rice Memorial) followed with a steal and breakaway hoop to give Saint Michael's a one-point edge at 4:34.
The next seven points came from Bentley, but the Purple Knights scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter - the first five coming from Burud - to forge ahead 61-58 on Spencer's triple with 8:39 remaining, and Burud's lay-in had the hosts up 65-61. Spencer's jumper later snapped a tie and made it 67-65 at 5:01, accounting for the Purple and Gold's final advantage, as back-to-back hoops by Gemma put the Falcons in front for good.
After her team trailed by four, Spencer twice drew it within a pair of points, including a on free throw with 1:18 left. However, Gemma fed Lux for a lay-in on the next possession, producing a 75-71 margin, and the hosts missed four shots in the final 42 seconds around a pair of made free throws by Bentley.
Saint Michael's next plays on Dec. 30, hosting Daemen (N.Y.) College at 1 p.m. for their first meeting since the 1997-98 season.