The Bentley women's basketball team was staring at a 54-35 deficit with less than 13 minutes left in their NCAA Division 2 quarterfinal matchup Tuesday afternoon against top-ranked Wayne State.
But after rallying from double-digits in the East regional semis (Franklin Pierce) and final (Holy Family) a week ago in Waltham, the fifth-ranked Falcons were up to the task.
Unleashing a relentless full-court press, Bentley ran off 12 straight points to cut the margin to two with 8 minutes left -- the Falcons' 34th run this season of 10 or more points -- and then closed the game with a 13-2 burst for a dramatic 72-67 win at Greehey Arena in San Antonio.
In advancing to the national semifinals for the first time since 2003, the Falcons (31-3) will play 32-1 Ashland Wednesday night at 7.
Sophomore All-American Lauren Battisa (Easton/Oliver Ames) led Bentley with 18 points and 9 rebounds in 34 minutes, junior Caleigh Crowell (Harwich/Worcester Academy) delivered 16 huge points off the bench, draining four treys, junior captain Kelsey Roberson of Arlington had 12 points and senior Katherine Goodwin contributed 10. Junior guard Courtney Finn of Winthrop had a team-high 10 rebounds.
"We were in dire straits, but found the will to come back and win. I'm so, so proud of the team right now," said Bentley coach Barbara Stevens, after earning her 852d career win.
The Falcons, who have won 14 straight games, converted 22 Wayne State turnovers into 31 points. The Wildcats did not score in the final 3:30.
- Michael Vega
- Mark Blaudschun
- Nancy Marrapese-Burrell