WALTHAM, Mass. (AP) — With the first 900 out of the way, Bentley University’s women’s basketball coach Barbara Stevens would rather not look ahead on the next big milestone that may be in her future.
One thousand wins!
“How about 901? How about that?” Stevens said after becoming the sixth coach in women’s college basketball history to record 900 victories — her undefeated Falcons posting a 98-82 Division II Northeast-10 Conference victory over Saint Anselm. “That’s kind of how we take it here — one game at a time.”
Pausing, she then said, “If I’m lucky enough to still be coaching and the way I feel at this moment — I enjoy it so much and I guess as long as Bentley will have me, I’ll try to stay as long as I still love the job.”
Stevens, 58, who also coached at Clark University and the University of Massachusetts, reached the 900-win mark when her team improved its record to 18-0. She is in her 37th year and joined Pat Summitt, Sylvia Hatchell, C. Vivian Stringer, Tara VanDerveer and Jody Conradt in the women’s 900-win club.
Her 743 Division II victories are a record.
Sharing the spotlight with Stevens on Saturday was Lauren Battista, the senior forward who became the program’s all-time leading scorer, with 1,804 points.
“When it came up that it could happen on the same day, I thought it was really great,” said Battista, one of four players on this veteran team who played in Stevens’ 800th victory Dec. 19, 2010. “I thought it would be amazing to share that special day with Coach and it would be a day that we both remember as a really cool day in Bentley basketball history.
“I just feel really fortunate to have been a part of both her 800th win and her 900th win – I think that’s something that’s pretty rare.”
All 18 Bentley victories this season have been by double figures. The 98 points scored Saturday were a season-high, but so were the 80 points against — something the coach was quick to point out after the game.
She also said her veteran team was easily able to handle a special day that also included the presence of Bentley alumni players.
“We kind of talked a little bit about that in the locker room,” she said. “We just said we’re not going to hide from what’s out there — we’re going to acknowledge it and just say, ‘OK let’s use this as an opportunity to play in a big-game environment, what we hope down the road for us could be a tournament environment. This is good for us.”
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