WALTHAM, Mass. – Despite leading for nearly 30 minutes of Saturday's game, the nationally-ranked Saint Anselm College women's basketball team was unable to hold on to the lead late in the fourth quarter, falling to Bentley by a 71-68 margin.
The Hawks fall to 8-3 on the year, dropping their first Northeast-10 Conference fixture (4-1) of the year. Bentley has won six consecutive games to improve to 10-3 overall – the Falcons have won all five of their league games to date.
Junior Peyton Steinman (Pittsfield, Mass.) scored a game-high 18 points for the Hawks, hauling in seven rebounds. Classmate Jen Peel (Mansfield, Mass.) matched a career-high mark with 11 points, making four field goals in the game including three from beyond the arc.
Senior Shannon Ryan (Plattsburgh, N.Y.) posted 11 points and seven rebounds, passing Addie Stiles '99 for seventh place in team history with 1,388 career points on the Hilltop.
After opening the game on a 9-0 run, the Hawks built up game-high leads of 11 points on two occasions but were unable to hold onto the lead. Starting the fourth quarter tied at 53, Saint Anselm scored the first eight points of the period, but Bentley stunned the Hawks in the last 30 seconds with a late jumper by Ella Thompson.
On the Hawks ensuing offensive possession, the visitors turned the ball over just inside the paint with under 10 seconds left. Bentley capped a 15-5 scoring run across the final 5:46 of regulation time with back-to-back Megan Lewis free throws to secure the win.
Ahead by 11 points, 26-17, with 5:41 left in the second quarter after a triple by Peel, Bentley closed the first half with an 18-5 scoring stretch that ultimately saw them draw even heading into the locker room. A late Peel jumper in the paint turned a two-point Bentley lead into a 33-33 draw at the break.
Matching point for point in the third quarter, both teams headed into the fourth stanza tied at 53. The Hawks scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter to build a late lead. In that span, Peel and Ouellette each hit from beyond the arc to create a 61-53 advantage with 7:40 to go in the contest.
Trailing by one point with around two-and-a-half minutes left, Guachione banked home a three and later posted a huge rejection on a Bentley three-point attempt. She sprinted forward to collect the ball and sprinted home for the breakaway layup, creating a 68-64 lead with 2:17 left in regulation time.
It was all Bentley for the remaining two minutes of the contest. The Falcons scored three consecutive points before an Ella Thompson jumper with 26 seconds left put the hosts up for good.
The Hawks return to action Wednesday, Jan. 8, hosting Assumption at 5:30 p.m. in NE10 play.