MANCHESTER, N.H. – Competing against the seventh-ranked team in NCAA Division II, the Saint Anselm College women's basketball team battled the Falcons of Bentley University to a 65-60 loss on Saturday at Stoutenburgh Gymnasium.
Bentley (21-3, 15-3 NE10) has won 11 of its 13 road games on the season, moving to 15-3 in the Northeast-10 Conference. Saint Anselm (15-10, 11-6 NE10) lost on the Hilltop for only the second time all season and the sixth time in the previous two seasons combined. The Hawks will take on Southern New Hampshire this Wednesday, Feb. 14 at the SNHU Arena in downtown Manchester at 5:30 p.m.
Sophomore Shannon Ryan fell just one rebound shy of a double-double, reeling in nine caroms in addition to a team-leading 15 points on offense. Sophomore Sara Messler and senior Clairee Putnam tallied 13 points for the Hawks with the latter handing out six assists. Messler was a team-leading 3-for-4 from beyond the arc in the loss.
Putnam and senior Ali Glennon were honored with a pre-game Senior Day ceremony where they were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the program across the prior four seasons.
Bentley began the game on a 16-4 scoring run, limiting the Hawks to only those four points through the first quarter. Saint Anselm righted the ship in the second quarter, using a 16-9 run of its own to cut the lead to 25-20 with 2:47 to go in the first half. During that span, Ryan made three jumpers and was joined by a four-point performance from Glennon that timeframe.
Down by a 44-33 score with 3:16 to go in the third quarter, Saint Anselm scored 14 of the game's next 18 points to cut the Bentley lead to two, 48-46, with exactly eight minutes left in regulation time. Putnam and freshman Grace Guachione made clutch triples for the Hawks, who saw scoring from freshman Peyton Steinman and Ryan to close the game to two.
Bentley rattled off the game's next 10 points, but the Hawks were up to the task once again. A three-point basket from Messler with 35 seconds left brought Saint Anselm to within five points, 60-55, and following her own defensive rebound of a missed Bentley shot, Ryan made both free throws to cut the score to 60-57 with 18 seconds left.
Following a Falcons time out, the Hawks were forced to foul. Macchi Smith made both of her shots from the charity stripe and, on the next possession, another Ryan layup found the bottom of the basket. Scoring with eight seconds left, Ryan converted the three-point play but Trevena Bennett made one of two free throws.
With the clock running following the missed free throw, Bennett sprinted forward to haul in her own rebound, effectively ending the game as she was fouled in the process. Making both of her foul shots, Bennett locked down the five-point victory for the Falcons.
Saint Anselm finished the game with a 25-for-69 performance from the floor, shooting at only 36.2%. Bentley made just over 45% of its shots from the field (24-for-53), winning the rebounding battle, 42-33. A stout Hawks defense did force Bentley into 19 turnovers on the day, the second-most it has committed all season.
Bentley was led by a 17-point performance by Becca Musgrove. Victoria Lux picked up a double-double with 13 rebounds and 11 assists.