Whitmore & Thompson combine for 31 but Bentley Falls at Southern Conn, 63-55

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut — Despite a total of 31 points from the junior forward Maggie Whitmore (South Portland, Maine/South Portland HS) and head guard Ella Thompson (Greenwood, Indiana/Center Grove HS)Bentley University came up short at Southern Connecticut State University, falling to the Owls 63-55 in Northeast-10 Conference women’s basketball Saturday afternoon at Moore Fieldhouse.

Whitmore led Bentley with 16 points and eight rebounds while Thompson added 15, all but two coming in the second half. Southern graduate guard Zoe Amalbert (Nanuet, NY) led all scorers with 22 points, including ten in fourth place.

The loss dropped the Falcons to 12-8 overall and 9-5 in conference play. Southern Connecticut, which overtook Bentley by 47-34 percent, improved to 12-7 overall and 7-6 NE10. It was a tight game throughout, with seven lead changes, six draws and the final spread being the afternoon’s biggest difference.

After Whitmore scored a couple of early buckets, Bentley took an 8-2 lead. But it was tied at 12 after Southern scored the last four points of the stanza.

Bentley was down 27-26 at the half after Southern took a seven straight 19-14 lead in the second quarter and the Falcons countered with an 8-0 run, including six from Whitmore.

A 17-foot jumper by Amalbert at 5:51 made the third change in lead for the fourth time and gave Southern a 38-37 lead. The quarter ended with Bentley trailing 46-42 after a game-changing hang-up from Thompson.

Bentley closed with 6:45 to play within one and was within three a few other times but never got over the hump. The Owls finished the win with seven of eight free throws in the final 1:07.

Bentley, who was credited with just seven assists, turned over the ball just eight times, half of what the Owls finished. But adding to Southern’s superior shooting, the Falcons were passed 33-25 and outplayed by the line 17-9.

Whitmore, who posted a career-high 26 points against Saint Anselm, made half of her 12 shots and all four of her free throws. Thompson was three of five from long range and Bentley also received seven points apiece from the sophomore guard Amanda Kabantu (Portland, Maine/Portland HS) and freshman post Ciara Norman (Röbling, NJ/Life Center Academy).

Amalbert was assisted in the doubles by Stonehill Transfer and graduate guard Isabella Santoro (Durham, Connecticut) with 14 points. Six-foot-tall Renza Milner (Carlsbad, Calif.) was a power off the bench with 12 boards and three blocks.

Bentley will try to get back on track Wednesday when they host Southern New Hampshire at 5:30 p.m.