Meadville Tribune

Breaking News

Sports

March 28, 2014

No. 1 Bentley rallies to capture first DII title

ERIE — With just under six minutes to play, No. 1-ranked Bentley found itself in a precarious position, trailing 60-54 to West Texas A&M.

But in the span of just 30 seconds that all changed.

Thanks to a rapid series of interceptions by Bentley’s full-court defense, the Falcons of Waltham, Mass. went on a 6-0 run with 2:51 to play to tie the game at 60-60, and took the lead on a 3-pointer by Lauren Battista, on its way to a 73-65 win over West Texas A&M on Friday in the NCAA Division II women’s basketball championship game at Erie Insurance Arena.

The title is the first in program history for the Falcons, who finished the year at 35-0. And its the first for Bentley head coach Barbara Stevens, who is the winningest coach in Division II with 917 wins overall and 760 at the Falcons’ helm.

Yet neither she nor the Falcons had won a national title. In years past they had been bounced in the Final Four, the Elite Eight and, last year, in the round of 16.

The wait ended last night.

“We learned a very valuable lesson last year when we lost in the regional championship to Delta (State),” Battista said. “Nothing is going to be easy for us. Every team is out to beat us and out to knock us off out of the top spot. So we approached every game with that mentality this year and teams in our league challenged us just as we got challenged today by West Texas A&M.”

West Texas A&M, making its first championship appearance since 1988, wrapped up its season at 32-3.

West Texas was in control for the much of the game. The Lady Buffs established control with an outstanding night shooting. The Texans in fact, opened the game on fire shooting 71.4 percent from the floor through the first six minutes. Bentley, meanwhile, struggled, connecting on just one of its first nine shot attempts.

Bentley scored the game’s first basket, a jumper by Battista, but didn’t score another field goal until Battista found the hoop again with 12:16 to play in the half. West Texas A&M led 11-5 at that juncture.

Midway through the half, though, Bentley got its offense going and eventually took a 19-17 lead on a pair of free throws by Courtney Finn with 3:30 to play in the stanza. The Falcons extended that lead to four (21-17), but West Texas stormed back, tying it at 21-21 on a jumper by Lacee Logan.

Finn gave the Falcons the lead back with a 3-pointer, but Casey Land connected on the other end to tie it up at 24-24 at the break.

Game on.

The score was tied five more times in the second half before West Texas went on a run that put Bentley’s title hopes in jeopardy. That run was sparked by a magnificent second half effort by Devin Griffin. Griffin was just 2 of 7 with one rebound in the first half. She finished the game with a team-best 20 points on 9 of 18 shooting and eight rebounds. Point No. 17 for Griffin gave the Lady Buffs a 48-42 lead with 9:16 to play.

“Devin Griffin was unbelievable,” coach Stevens said. “She was killing us all by herself. She was taking over the game. When Jacqui (Brugliera) got in foul trouble we had to put Caleigh Crowell on her and Caleigh has length and Caleigh is also pretty strong. (Griffin) was outstanding. We were having all kinds of trouble with her.”

West Texas extended that lead to nine (58-49) with 5:38 to go on a 3-pointer by Madison McClain. McClain came into the game with just five points in the tournament. She knocked down three 3-pointers and finished with nine points against the Falcons.

Eventually, things turned in the Falcons’ favor and it began with the implementation of its pressure defense.

“My assistants were talking about us getting into it earlier,” Stevens said.

But with Crowell and Brugliera in foul trouble, Stevens hesitated. Down, with the clock ticking, she had no choice.

“With Lauren and Christiana (Bakolas) up front and Courtney sealing those traps off and Christiana kind of anticipating the reversal, thankfully Caleigh and Jacqui could stay behind and stay safe,” Stevens said. “That front line of our press was great.”

Bakolas keyed the comeback with back-to-back steals as West Texas tried to inbound the ball. Those steals led to four points within 17 seconds which knotted the score at 60 and sent the Falcons on their way to the national title.

Bentley won the title behind a sea of blue. It was reported that six buses made the long trip from Waltham, Mass. to Erie to witness the victory. Those fans were among a reported 2,151 in attendance for the championship game.

Finn led Bentley with 21 points. Brugliera, the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, finished with 17 points, while Battista added 14.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • District 1 dominates at East Regional

    Outscoring its opponents 32-0, District 1 moved to 3-0 at the Senior League Softball East Regional Tournament on Monday with a pair of wins.

    July 28, 2014

  • Kissing the bricks Gordon wins at Indy for record 5th time

    With a tinge of gray hair at his temples, his hat on backward and his two young children by his side, Jeff Gordon celebrated as if he was 23 years old again.
    Gordon won a NASCAR-record fifth Brickyard 400 on Sunday, eight days before his 43rd birthday and on the weekend Indianapolis Motor Speedway celebrated the 20th anniversary of his first Brickyard victory.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Roethlisberger OK with choice to wait on new deal

    There are days when Ben Roethlisberger can feel every single hit he’s absorbed during a decade as one of the NFL’s most fearless quarterbacks.
    And there are days when the Pittsburgh Steelers star sees the young faces surrounding him in the huddle and it seems like he can play forever.

    July 26, 2014

  • Teen doping Survey: Teens experimenting with HGH on the rise

    Michael Guerreri wanted to try human growth hormones so he could look like a pro wrestler. Joe Badalanato hoped HGH would help him become a better football player. James O’Brien figured the drug would improve his fastball.
    The three 18-year-olds from suburban Philadelphia told The Associated Press this week that they bought bottles of HGH online in the past year. Turns out, what they bought was fake.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Montoya back at Indy intent on winning for Penske

    Juan Pablo Montoya is back at Indianapolis Motor Speedway — one night only, an encore of sorts, in a guest-starring role for Team Penske.
    The Colombian is entered in the Brickyard 400 for the explicit purpose of winning at Indy in NASCAR and giving team owner Roger Penske one of the few trophies missing from his collection.

    July 25, 2014

  • Haley Wise District 1 looking forward to bigger goals

    The members of the District 1 Senior League softball team haven’t spent a whole lot of time playing together.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Meadville's magical season comes to an end

    The state run is over for the Meadville Junior League All-Stars.
    Guess they’ll just have to content themselves with a District 1 championship, a Section 1 championship and an incredible turnaround from the year before.

    July 24, 2014

  • AP source: Gordon to meet with league Aug. 1

    The Cleveland Browns may soon learn whether they’ll have Josh Gordon this season.

    July 24, 2014

  • Mitchell Wood FCV’s season comes to an end

    The end of an era.
    So it was with French Creek Valley dropping a 5-4 decision to Albion Post 567 in the Region 8 Tournament at Northwestern High School on Wednesday. For several key players, it was the last time they would put on the blue uniform for head coach Brandon Crum.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Meadville falls to NA in Junior League state opener

    The Meadville Junior League All-Stars spent all baseball season perfecting the art of winning.

    July 23, 2014

Sports Scoreboard
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Business Marquee
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Poll

A South Carolina woman was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The decision has created a debate over “free-range” parenting and whether it’s a good idea or not. What’s your take?

I’m fine with it. If she cannot afford childcare, what choice does she have?
This is horrible and very bad parenting.
I’m torn. It’s not right what she did, but it sounds like the mother had few other options.
     View Results
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks