Much of the attention among former Cicero-North Syracuse girls basketball standouts has gone to Breanna Stewart as she tries to lead Connecticut to back-to-back NCAA Division I titles, along with an undefeated season.
But there’s another former Northstar who has just put a national championship – done with a team that went undefeated - on her career ledger.
Kelsey Mattice was part of C-NS’s first of two state Class AA title teams in 2011. From there, she went to the University of Maine, but after her freshman year Mattice transferred to Bentley College, in Waltham, Mass., near Boston, who had reached the NCAA Division II semifinals in 2012, coached by Barbara Stevens, who has more than 900 career wins.
In her sophomore season (2012-13), Mattice averaged 4.0 points per game, but all of that was a prelude to what Mattice and Bentley accomplished this winter.
The Falcons were a perfect 26-0 in the 2013-14 regular season and then won the Northeast-10 Conference tournament title, twice beating Le Moyne College (79-56 on Jan. 8 at Henninger Athletic Center, 77-51 on March 2) along the way.
Then, in the NCAA Division II tournament, Bentley kept going with wins over Bloomfield (80-65), Stonehill (79-63) and LIU-Post (83-62), and took a 32-0 record into the Elite Eight at Erie Insurance Arena in Erie, Pa., where the national title would be decided.
In the quarterfinals last Tuesday, the Falcons beat Drury 74-66, with Mattice playing 12 minutes and contributing three points as Bentley took an early lead and withstood all of Drury’s comeback attempts.
Two nights later, in the national semifinals, Bentley roared past Cal Poly Ponoma 77-62, again with Mattice contributing three points in 11 minutes of game action. The Falcons used a 10-0 run early in the second half to break the game open.