* Wednesday night saw a few key games in the NE-10 and ECC, all with playoff permutations attached. This report starts with a gaggle of milestones in Waltham, however...
* Bentley dispatched Southern New Hampshire, 84-68, at the Dana Center to reach the 20-win mark for the 32nd time in program history. Jen Gemma had a night to remember, registering 21 points and 8 rebounds to surpass the 2,000-point and 1,000-rebound plateaus in the same game. Gemma, #2 on the Falcon scoring list and #3 on the program's rebound chart, becomes the fourth player in NE-10 history to hit the 2K/1K levels, joining Juana Garcia (AIC, '96), Liz Davies (Bryant, '96) and Suzanne Patchett (Stonehill, '97) in that rarified air. As for the game, the Falcons claimed the lead for good on a Gemma trey with 1:50 left in the first period (19-17) and pushed the gap to double digits for keeps with 7:20 left in the first half, 30-19. Bentley led 39-28 at the break and 62-43 after three periods on the way to their eighth straight win. Macchi Smith (20 points, 8 caroms) and Amy McConnell (career-high 13 points; 5-5 FG, 3-3 3FG) added quality depth for Bentley while Kylie Lorenzen (18 points) and Sara Ryan (15 points, all in the second half) topped the Penmen. Bentley shot a lusty 60% overall and ruled the paint, 48-30. SNHU, now on the brink of elimination from NE-10 Northeast Division playoff consideration, didn't attempt a single free throw in the contest while Bentley, already locked in as divisional champion, made 11-17 at the stripe.
* Queens extended their regional-best winning streak to a dozen games with a 72-63 success at Roberts Wesleyan. The ECC leaders jumped to a fast 11-2 lead and never relinquished it. The Knights opened the second half with a 7-0 run (42-31) and closed it with a 5-0 flurry (55-41) and seemed in control. The Redhawks got back into it with an 11-2 spree (QC, 61-59 with 2:47 left) but an 8-0 response, with Madison Rowland (21 points, 18 boards, 7 assists, 5 steals) and MacKenzie Rowland (19 points, 16 boards) splitting the scoring made it 69-59 with 57 seconds left, icing the win. Kaitlyn Mahon (14 points, 7-12 FG) and Merrick Rowland (10 points, 6 caroms) chipped in for QC, which pulled in fifteen more rebounds (47-32, including 17-4 in offensive boards) and out-scored RWC in points-off-TO's, 23-7. Taya Andrews (18 points, 7 boards), Emily Miller (15 points) and Lucy Covley (10 points) topped the Redhawks scoring but they missed a chance to solidify their current fourth place status in the conference.
* Adelphi placed all five starters in double digits and repelled the College of Saint Rose in Albany, 72-63. Simone Hobdy (18 points, 10 boards) and Calli Balfour (13 points, 10 rebounds) collected double-doubles while Sierra Clark (17 points, 7 caroms) was also solid. The Panthers blew the game open with a 16-2 second period run (37-19) but the Golden Knights, down 38-26 at the break, chipped away and closed the gap to 40-35 with 6:29 left in the third frame. AU countered with a 9-2 spell (49-37) to stablize the situation and led by no less than seven points in the fourth quarter. Ashley Vanderwall (15 points) and Staci Barrett (10 points) led the Saint Rose effort but their hold on fourth place in the NE-10 Southwest Division is down to a game in the loss column. Divisional winner Adelphi grabbed nine more rebounds (41-32) en route to victory.
* Excellent balance and sharp shooting was enough to vault NYIT to an 85-74 ECC win over Daemen in a clash of teams scrapping for playoff spots in Old Westbury. The Bears shot 51% overall, 7-15 from three-point land and 20-27 at the line, backing it up with strong board work (47-38). Margaret Knollmeyer (21 points, 8 boards), Shanice Allen (20 points, 6 rebounds) and Julie Williams (16 points, 11 caroms, 5 assists) led the way for NYIT as they snared a fast 13-2 lead and never looked back. It was 46-36 at the half and 66-53 after three periods but the Wildcats did rally, slicing the margin to 69-63 with 5:45 left. NYIT answered with a game-killing 10-1 bomb (79-64, 2:20) and that was that. Leah McDonell had a career-game for Daemen in defeat (30 points, 9 rebounds, 9-15 FG, 3-6 3FG, 9-13 FT in 40 minutes) while Sarah Saba added 13 points. Daemen shot just 40% overall and 7-30 from behind the arc and saw their five-game winning skein end as a result of the defeat.
* St. Michael's squeezed out a 60-53 win at Franklin Pierce to pull into a three-way tie for second place in the NE-10 Northeast Division. This one was ultra-tight (nine ties, fourteen lead changes and a separation of no more than eight points) with the Ravens scoring the last seven points of the first half to annex a 27-25 lead. Emily Ferreri (21 points, 7 caroms) snapped the last tie with a bucket at the 4:05 mark (SMC, 48-46) but FPU stuck to it and came within a point (51-50, 3:02) after a Camryn Wilson basket. The Purple Knights responded with a 7-0 spell (including five free throws) to make it 58-50 and salt the game away. The win is SMC's first in Rindge since January 22, 2001, thirteen games ago. Samantha Delaney (10 points, 10 rebounds) and Brianna Purcell (10 points) lent support for St. Mike's, who fared well at the line (SMC 20-29 FT; FPU 7-12 FT). Mikayla Deguire (12 points, 11 boards), Dana Campbell and Jemma Thacker (10 points each) led the Raven effort but their first NE-10 win continues to elude them.
* LIU Post kept their nose in the ECC playoff hunt with a 74-68 victory over Mercy in Bronxville. The Mavericks led by as many as fourteen points (38-24) late in the first half but an 8-0 run to end the half from the Pioneers made a dent. LIU Post kept the run going into the second half, an 8-2 start (16-2 overall) making it a 40-40 deadlock. The game stayed close with Mercy taking their last lead via an Abigail Collier trey, 56-53. The Pioneers wrested control with a 14-3 spree after that, taking a 67-59 lead with 4:26 left. Mercy crept within three points late but never had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead. Shannon Doyle (15 points, 7 assists, 5 steals), Kristen Olsen, Mikaiya Moore (14 points each) and Sasha Patterson (10 points, 10 boards) were part of the Pioneer effort that won the glass battle, 46-31. Collier (12 points) and Latisha Clark (11 points) keyed the Mavericks along with four others who notched 10 points each but they still lost for the sixth straight time. LIU Post ended a three-game slide and are one of four ECC teams with seven losses (tied for fifth in the loss column).