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March 28. 2014 10:26PM

Ex-Central standout Bakolas helps Bentley U. to D-II national title


Bentley's Christiana Bakolas is shown in action against SNHU in February. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)

Barbara Stevens couldn’t have asked for more from her Bentley University women’s basketball team this season.

Top-seeded Bentley punctuated an undefeated season by beating West Texas A&M, 73-65, Friday night in the NCAA Division II national championship game in Erie, Pa. Bentley point guard Christiana Bakolas, a former standout at Manchester Central, collected seven points, eight assists, three steals and three rebounds for the Falcons, who completed their season with a 35-0 record.

Bakolas was a four-year starter at Central. The Falcons were 124-11 in her four seasons at Bentley.

Courtney Finn led Bentley with 21 points. Jacqui Brugliera tossed in 17 and Lauren Battista finished with 14.

Bentley trailed by eight with three minutes to play, but outscored West Texas A&M 21-5 the rest of the way. West Texas A&M’s second-half lead peaked at nine with 5:15 left.

Bentley shot 40.4 percent from the field, but made 22 of its 24 free throw attempts. Fifth-seeded West Texas A&M shot 47.9 percent from the field (23 of 48).

Bentley hasn’t lost a game since a 53-51 setback against Dowling in last year’s Division II tournament.

Devin Griffin scored a team-high 20 points for West Texas A&M, which finished its season with a 32-3 record.

The victory handed Stevens career victory No. 917 and her first national championship.


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