WALTHAM, Mass. – The Merrimack College women’s basketball program played No. 5/2 Bentley University closer than all but one of the Falcons’ 2018-19 opponents so far as the Warriors owned multiple third-quarter leads on Tuesday night at the Dana Center before ultimately falling, 72-65, in a Northeast Division matchup. The contest marked the final divisional game of the fall semester for the Warriors, who close the calendar year next Wednesday at home against Saint Thomas Aquinas (5 p.m.).
Junior Denia Davis-Stewart led the Warriors’ effort with 13 points, 12 rebounds and six blocked shots. It marked the Dorchester, Mass. native’s second straight double-double and third in her last four outings. Senior Lindsay Werner (14) and sophomore Mayson Kimball (12) also joined Davis-Stewart with double-figure scoring outputs.
Score: #5/2 Bentley 72, Merrimack 65
Records: Merrimack (6-5, 2-5 NE10) | #5/2 Bentley (11-0, 7-0 NE10)
Location: Dana Center | Waltham, Mass.
- Bentley raced out of the gates, starting the night on a 12-2 run and hitting 3-of-4 from the field. An 8-0 stretch that featured a pair of 3-pointers from Kimball brought Merrimack back within four, 14-10, but the hosts closed the quarter on a 10-4 stretch to take a 24-14 advantage to the second frame
- Freshman Caroline Wilson came off the bench to spurn a 9-2 run over the first 3:03 of the quarter that brought Merrimack within one, 26-25. The rookie sunk a pair of triples after entering the contest with one make in five games. Neither team led by more than one over the remainder of the half, with Merrimack taking its first lead (31-30) following a three-point play from Werner at the 2:36 mark. Bentley was able to sneak in front, however, leaving the floor with a 34-33 edge at the half
- Merrimack led at three separate instances in the third. The sophomore tandem of Alyssa Casey and Kimball ignited a 5-0 stretch that gave the Warriors a 38-36 edge just 90 seconds into the second half. Back-and-forth action ensued, with Merrimack owning a lead of 40-39 before three separate ties. A bucket from Davis-Stewart with an even 4:00 left until the fourth quarter put the visitors back ahead, 51-50
- The turning point of the night came after that basket, however, as the Falcons ended the quarter on an 11-1 run to take a 61-51 lead into the final 10 minutes of the night
- Merrimack’s deficit remained in double digits until the midway point of the fourth, when the Warriors started to chip away. Werner hit a jumper to make it an eight-point game (67-59), and Davis-Stewart saw a lefty banked-shot fall to trim the margin to five, 67-62, with 2:33 to go. That proved to be as close as Merrimack got, as Bentley made 5-of-6 from the line to claim the victory
Notes and Numbers
- Tuesday marked Bentley’s second closest margin of the year, and just the third Falcons game decided by single digits
- All of Davis-Stewart’s rebounds (12) came on the defensive glass. The third-year forward moved into the top-five in the NE10 in rebounds (9.2/gm) while maintain her league lead in blocks (48)
- Both team’s entered the game as the top-two 3-point threats in the league. Merrimack hit eight treys – right at the team’s season average – while the Falcons sank just five, their third fewest of the year
- Bentley owned the edge in paint scoring (38-28) as well as bench points (24-12)
- Senior Karlee Alves finished with a game-high nine assists while Bentley’s offense as a whole assisted on 25 of its 27 field goals
The Warriors will play their final game of the 2018 calendar year next Wednesday, when Merrimack welcomes Saint Thomas Aquinas – the defending East Coast Conference champs – to Hammel Court for a 5 p.m. tip-off.