Junior guard Julianna Eagles (Quincy, Mass.) scored a team-high 19 points to lead Simmons to a 70-63 overtime decision over NEWMAC foe Smith College on Saturday afternoon at the Holmes Sports Center. With the win, the Sharks improve to 5-1 on the season, while the Pioneers fall to 5-3.
Back and forth scoring during the opening minutes of the game was halted by Simmons, grabbing its largest lead of the half, 26-14 as Eagles led the Sharks in scoring with 11 points. The Pioneers got within seven, 32-25, to end the half as Smith's Lisa Marie Vuono scored six points in the last three minutes of the first half to cut the deficit to seven. The Pioneer took a 33-21 lead within the first two minutes of the second half. The remainder of regulation was a back and forth affair, as neither team was able to pull away with a commanding lead. With 51 seconds left Smith held a 61-60 lead, however senior captain Sarah Clayton (Falmouth, Mass.) would go on to hit one of two free throws, tying the game 61-61 with five seconds remaining to take the game to overtime.
Simmons held a two-point, 65-63 lead in the first two minutes of overtime, Clayton led the way, scoring four points in the overtime period. Junior forward Aubree Giarrosso (Rockport, Mass.) added three points in the overtime play.
In addition to her 20 points, Eagles finished with four assists and four steals while senior Lauren Kreckie (Braintree, Mass.) recorded a double-double as she scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Junior Stephanie Fox (West Springfield, Mass.) and Clayton both also scored in double figures, recording 14 points each.
"I hope the fans appreciated watching two good teams go head to head, both schools are fine academic institutions that happen to be all women's institutions," said Head Coach Tony Price. "I think a lot of young people dismiss the thought of attending our schools, but as you can see both teams played their hearts out, we made a couple of big plays down the stretch to secure the victory."
At 5-1 The Sharks are tied for the second best start in the program's history.
Simmons returns to action on Sunday, December 28 when travel to Daytona Beach, Florida for the Land of Magic Classic Basketball Tournament.