Barbara Stevens has more than 1,000 victories in her legendary coaching career, but the 35 that she and the Bentley women’s basketball team earned in the 2013-14 season were the highlight.
Winthrop’s Courtney Finn was an All-American player on that Bentley team that went 35-0 and captured the NCAA Division 2 national championship. Finn was legendary herself in the national championship game, hitting 12-of-12 from the free throw line as Bentley rallied to defeat West Texas A&M, 73-65, at Erie Insurance Arena. Finn was a graduate student that season after being red-shirted as a freshman due to an injury.
Finn, who is the assistant director of financial operations for the Bentley Athletic Department (that is led by AD Bob DeFelice of Winthrop) has congratulated her now-colleague, Barbara Stevens, on the incredible honor of having been selected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Stevens joins NBA greats Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, and Tim Duncan and others in the 2020 class of inductees.
“Barbara Stevens is not only an unbelievable coach but she’s just an unbelievable person,” lauded Finn. “She really helped us as players not only grow on the basketball court but as people, too. And I think that makes a huge impact on your game.
“She’s been around the game for a long time and knows a lot of Xs and Os,” continued Finn. “But it was pretty much everything outside of that, which really got us to jell and bond as a team and really play as one.”
The Falcons’ national championship season was memorable from start to finish, with the team rising up from being a perennial national contender to a national champion.
“That season was like the perfect storm – we had some players in grad school, seven seniors, so the seven of us got to play together for a long time, it was the perfect mix,” said Finn.
The Winthrop great recalled that Stevens and the current associate head coach, C White, personally recruited her. Finn, Winthrop’s all-time leading scorer with 1,749 points, had considered Division 1 programs such as BU, Providence, and Maine and other schools, but she accepted Bentley’s scholarship offer.
“I’m very happy I chose Bentley,” said Finn. “I was around Bentley since when I was young, going to the basketball camps there. I think from a young age I had always wanted to play there. When I got that offer, I jumped right on it.”
Courtney concluded her personal tribute to Barbara Stevens, saying, “It was an honor playing for her in the program. She made me grow in to not only a great basketball player but an even better person. She really helped me take steps in life and be where I am now, to still be able to work with her and still have a very close relationship with her now – it means a lot to me.”
Courtney is the daughter of Winthrop schoolteacher and tennis coach Marie Finn and former Superintendent of Schools Peter Finn. Her twin brother, Paul, is a graduate of WPI and works as a program manager at Raytheon. Their older sister, Kristen (Finn) McDonnell, is a graduate of Bates College and an otolaryngology physician assistant at Mass Eye and Ear.
Interestingly, another Winthrop High all-time, multiple-sport great, Lisa Monteleone Ferrara, also starred on Barbara Stevens-coached Bentley teams in the 1980s.