WALTHAM, Mass. – The Saint Anselm College women's basketball team fell to nationally-ranked Bentley University on Saturday by a 69-54 score.
Saint Anselm has lost three games in a row, dipping to 16-7 and to 11-7 against Northeast-10 Conference opponents. Bentley improves to 23-2 overall on the year and to 17-1 against NE10 foes. The Falcons entered play ranked 14th by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and 18th in the D2SIDA Women's Basketball National Media Poll.
Sophomore Peyton Steinman (Pittsfield, Mass.) had 11 of her team's 20 points through the opening half of play, finishing with 16 points tie junior Shannon Ryan (Plattsburgh, N.Y.) for the team lead. Steinman also pulled down nine rebounds with Ryan notching seven caroms of her own. Ryan needs only 30 points to reach 1,000 for her career.
Steinman and junior Sara Messler (Durham, N.H.) had back-to-back three's early in the first quarter, catapulting the Hawks into a 6-0 lead with 6:14 to go. Another Steinman trey boosted her team's lead to a game-high seven points, 11-4, with 2:31 left. After Bentley tied the game at 13 shortly into the second quarter, another Steinman triple recreated a three-point lead, 16-13, with 6:32 left.
After a made layup by junior Julia Thissell (Hopkinton, Mass.) with 5:54 to go in the first half, the Hawks lead by an 18-13 score. Bentley rallied with 10 of the first half's final 12 points as Saint Anselm was only 1-for-6 from the floor down the stretch, committing three miscues. Both teams combined for 24 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes of action.
The Hawks captured a modest two-point lead, 29-27, with 5:52 to go in the third quarter, but Bentley assumed control of the game with eight-straight points to take a 35-29 lead. The Falcons scoring run was fueled by three Hawks turnovers in a span of 59 seconds.
Saint Anselm kept the game within reach, finishing the third quarter with seven straight points that included a step-back three by Steinman that began the streak. Heading into the fourth quarter, Saint Anselm trailed by only four points, 40-36.
The Hawks closed their deficit to two points as early baskets from Ryan and Steinman kept the deficit to only one score, but Bentley extinguished any threat of a Saint Anselm comeback by scoring 10 of the game's 12 points near the midpoint of the fourth quarter. The Falcons also made 14 out of 15 foul shots in the game's final 9:06, putting the game out of reach.
During that final stretch of play for Bentley, Megan Lewis had 16 points, making five of her seven shots from the floor, to finish with a game-high 24 points and 11 rebounds for the home squad.
The Hawks welcome Southern New Hampshire University to the Hilltop on Wednesday, Feb. 20 in the squad's annual Play4Kay game at 5:30 p.m.