WALTHAM, Mass. – The No. 3-seeded Saint Anselm College women's basketball team saw their Northeast-10 Conference Championship Tournament run come to an end as the Hawks dropped an 81-49 decision to top-seeded Bentley University on Thursday night in the NE10 Championship Semifinals at the Dana Center in Waltham, Mass.
Saint Anselm falls to 19-10 on the year, surpassing last year's win total as the most wins in a season since 1999 when the Hawks had 20 wins. The Hawks now await word on a possible at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, with the selection show to be streamed live on NCAA.com at 10 p.m. on Sunday night.
Bentley improves to 26-4 and will play in the NE10 Championship Final on Sunday at Adelphi University.
Candace Andrews scored a game-high 28 points to go with five rebounds and three steals. Ali Glennon added eight points and five rebounds of her own, while Clairee Putnam chipped in five points, and Michaela Martin pulled in a team-high seven rebounds off the bench.
Bentley was led by 18 points and nine rebounds from Victoria Lux, while Jen Gemma added a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds. Macchi Smith nearly had a double-double of her own with nine points and nine assists, with Trevena Bennett notching 17 points in the win.
The Hawks were given an early 2-0 lead as Caitlyn Abela was awarded a pair of free throws due to an administrative technical foul before the ball was even tipped. Candace Andrews extended lead to 5-0 with a three-point play, and after a pair of offensive rebounds by the Hawks, Ali Glennon knocked down a triple in the corner to extend the lead to 8-0. Ali Glennon banked home a runner to push the advantage to 10-2, and Bentley was forced to call timeout with 6:18 to play.
Bentley answered with a 6-0 run before Andrews traded baskets with the Falcons to give Saint Anselm a 14-10 lead. The home team was undeterred as a 10-2 run by Bentley put the Falcons in front 20-16 with 1:25 remaining in the opening period. Victoria Lux went 1-for-2 at the line for the final point of the period as the Falcons took a 21-16 lead after one.
Andrews scored the opening six points of the period for the Hawks, but a triple from Jen Gemma extended the Bentley lead to 32-22 with 6:47 to play. An offensive rebound from Erin Waters led to a triple from Clairee Putnam to make it a 32-25 game, but Lauren Green knocked down a three of her own to put the Falcons back in front by 10.
A pair of Andrews free throws followed by a layup from the senior pulled the Hawks to within 37-29 before Bentley scored four-straight points to take a 41-29 lead with 1:14 remaining. Saint Anselm ended the half on a 5-0 run, including back-to-back layups from Clairee Putnam and Andrews, to make it a 41-34 game headed into the break.
Victoria Lux opened the second half with a personal 6-2 run against the Hawks and Saint Anselm was forced to call an early timeout in the third quarter, trailing 47-36 and 7:32 to play. Candace Andrews went to the free throw line and knocked down four-straight freebies to pull the Hawks back to 47-40, but a Gemma free throw followed by a triple from Macchi Smith and a Cassie Smith layup put the Falcons ahead 53-40 and four minutes to play in the quarter.
Erin Waters scored inside and Ali Glennon connected on a three to cut the deficit to 53-45, but back-to-back fast break layups by the Falcons in the final minute gave Bentley a 57-45 lead headed into the final period.
The Falcons opened the fourth quarter using a 13-0 run to take a 70-45 lead with 5:36 to play. Kaila Duarte ended the run with a score inside, but that would be as close as Saint Anselm would get as Bentley pulled away for the 81-49 victory.
Saint Anselm shot 29% (18-of-62) from the field, 18.8% (3-of-16) from beyond the arc and 76.9% (10-of-13) from the free throw line in the setback. Bentley shot 49.2% (31-of-63) from the floor and 47.1% (8-of-17) from three, but connected on only 57.9% (11-of-19) of their free throws. Saint Anselm edged the home team in rebounding, 42-41, but committed 15 turnovers to just seven for the Falcons.
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